On Friday November 11th the 230 migrants who had been on board the 'Ocean Viking' finally disembarked at Toulon on the French Mediterranean coast after a diplomatic tussle between Paris and Rome. On Sunday Mediapart joined French Parliamentarians who visited the migrants at the 'waiting zone' where they have been held since leaving the humanitarian vessel. The leftwing politicians left the site voicing doubts about whether the migrants' asylum rights are being respected. And migrant group activists say that the survivors from the ship should be freed immediately because of the hardships they have suffered and their vulnerability. Pierre Isnard-Dupuy reports.
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 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'.
French interior minister Gérald Darmanin has accused the British authorities of 'a lack of humanity' over their 'completely unsuitable' arrangements for Ukrainian refugees in the French port of Calais where, he said, a lack of consular services led to 150 refugees trying to cross the Channel being told to seek visas in Paris or Brussels.
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'.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.