refugees

Paris schools prepare to take in refugee children from Ukraine

France — Link

Amid increasing numbers of refugees arriving in France from war-ravaged Ukraine, the municipal authorities in Paris have set up special provisions for integrating Ukranian children into the city's schools.

Far-right candidate says Ukrainian refugees welcome, not Muslims

International — Link

Far-right French presidential election candidate Éric Zemmour said he agreed that Ukrainian refugees should be given visas to enter France 'if they have family' in the country, but that 'Arab or Muslim immigrants are too unlike us'.

Macron accused of pandering to far right over Afghan crisis

International — Link

The French president has attracted criticism for saying country must ‘protect itself from a wave of migrants’.

UN envoy slams France over 'dire' living conditions of migrants

International — Link

The UN’s special rapporteur for housing, Leilani Farha, has spoken out at the 'inhuman or degrading treatment' of migrants and refugees living without proper shelter in France, notably in and around Calais where, she said, 'people are being compelled to live in really dire circumstances, having already endured harrowing journeys there'.

Paris-Rome refugee dispute awakens dark colonial legacy

France — Link

Populists in Italy have accused France of continuing to colonise many African states.

'We want to work': refugees tell France why UK is so attractive

France — Link

New arrivals in France lack rights and help in navigating minefield of bureaucracy, French MPs have been told.

The homage France owes to Spanish Republican refugees

International — Opinion

A move to include the 150th anniversary of the birth of the notorious French anti-Semitic and far-right author Charles Maurras in official ceremonies across France this year caused such an outcry that it was struck off the agenda, calling into question the criteria employed by the country’s learned national commemorations committee. Amid the farce over Maurras, historian and Mediapart contributor Nicolas Lebourg argues here that a truly worthy commemoration sorely missing from the official calendar is that of the plight, and unsung contribution to France, of the hundreds of thousands of Spanish Civil War refugees who, in the runup to World War II, crossed into the country seeking refuge from the Franco regime.

Macron's migrant clampdown faces mounting opposition

France — Analysis

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday visited the Channel port of Calais, which for years has been a magnet for thousands of migrants from Africa and the Middle East seeking a passage to Britain from makeshift camps set up around the town. While his presence was ostensibly to address the local crisis, Macron’s visit also served as a platform to present his government’s proposed toughening up of immigration laws. But the planned clampdown on so-called economic migrants, who face mass deportations, has met with outrage not only from organisations defending migrants’ rights, but also from Macron’s own allies.

People-smuggling gangs circle as migrants return to Calais

International — Live

After the mass displacement last year of thousands from the notorious makeshift 'jungle' camp near the French Channel port of Calais, where for years migrants gathered while hoping for a clandestine passage to the UK, smaller numbers have begun returning to the zone where people-smuggling gangs are again closing in.

The shocking tales of child migrants seeking haven in Europe

International

A report published this week by UN bodies UNICEF and the International Organization for Migration highlights the shocking treatment meted out to child migrants along their journeys to Europe. The most at risk are those from sub-Saharan countries travelling north to the Mediterranean through Libya, where they are exposed to sexual exploitation and forced labour, and who are especially targeted, the study finds, because of racism. Carine Fouteau reports.

The migrant crisis tragedy and the duty of hospitality

International — Opinion

Last week a court in Nice handed down a suspended prison sentence to a farmer convicted of helping the illegal entry of three Eritrean migrants into France. Meanwhile, the Italian authorities this month adopted a hostile approach to NGOs operating missions to rescue migrants from perilous conditions in the Mediterranean, accusing them of aiding illegal immigration. In this op-ed article, Mediapart publishing editor Edwy Plenel denounces what he says is an outrageous criminalisation of fundamental acts of humanity, which illustrates both moral bankruptcy and a gross ignorance of the reality behind the migrant crisis.

The Syrian family waiting for a French visa to safety

International

Many Syrian refugees living in Turkey have gone to the French Consulate in Istanbul in the hope of obtaining a visa that will allow them to travel to France in safety. But only a small number ever get granted this precious document. Mediapart's Carine Fouteau tells the story of one Kurdish family from Syria who were twice forced to flee the fighting and who are now desperately waiting for a visa from the French authorities that would restore hope to their shattered lives.

French mayor behind gutted migrant camp vows it will return

International

A migrant camp close to the Channel port of Dunkirk, in north-east France, which housed about 1,500 people in wooden sheltered accommodation, was razed to the ground in a huge blaze on Monday that was started during fighting between groups of Iraqi Kurds and Afghans. The events have further fuelled anti-immigrant rhetoric from candidates campaigning in the French presidential elections, and placed in question the outgoing socialist government’s already reluctant support for the site. But, as Carine Fouteau reports, the local mayor behind the creation of the camp, which opened only last year, has pledged to rebuild it.

Refugees from Calais 'Jungle' camp begin studies at French university

International — Link

In an operation beginning with French-language courses, the 80 former inhabitants of the now-demolished squalid Channel port migrant camp were required to have already been students in their home countries and to demonstrate interest in the university courses on offer.

French rail workers refuse to join 'migrant hunt'

International — Report

The Riviera coastal area in south-east France surrounding the border with Italy has become a major crossing point for migrants from Africa and the Middle East trying to reach northern Europe.  Despite a crackdown on the clandestine crossings by French and Italian police, many migrants continue to attempt the journey, either by by train or the perilous route of railway tracks, despite a series of fatal and serious accidents. French rail employees are increasingly under pressure from both their company and the police to help with the hunt for the migrants. Louise Fessard met with railwaymen who refuse to collaborate with operations that one described as resembling scenes from the WWII German occupation.