Reports

  • Mykolaiv and Dnipro: a tale of two cities under attack

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    November 27th 2022: the crater and destruction left by a Russian missile strike on homes in Dnipro. © Igor Ishchuk for Mediapart November 27th 2022: the crater and destruction left by a Russian missile strike on homes in Dnipro. © Igor Ishchuk for Mediapart

    The true toll of civilian casualties in the war in Ukraine remains unclear, with estimates ranging from 17,000 dead and wounded (according to UN figures) to more than 40,000 dead (according to the US military). Following Ukraine’s recapture earlier this month of the southern city of Kherson, Russia has intensified its missile strikes across the country, many of them landing on civilian areas. Mediapart’s Mathilde Goanec reports here from two cities targeted by the attacks: Mykolaiv, in the south-east, close to the Black Sea, and Dnipro, in the centre-south.

  • 'Why are there so many soldiers? We're refugees': detained Ocean Viking migrants await their fate

    By Pierre Isnard-Dupuy
    Senator Guy Benarroche from the green EELV party with survivors from 'Ocean Viking', November 13th 2022. © Photo : Pierre Isnard-Dupuy Senator Guy Benarroche from the green EELV party with survivors from 'Ocean Viking', November 13th 2022. © Photo : Pierre Isnard-Dupuy

    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.

  • How Sindh province is still struggling to recover after Pakistan's devastating floods

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    The town of Khairpur Nathan Shah is slowly re-emerging from the waters. © Photo Nejma Brahim / Mediapart The town of Khairpur Nathan Shah is slowly re-emerging from the waters. © Photo Nejma Brahim / Mediapart

    In this particularly poor area of south-east Pakistan, several towns and villages are still under water nearly three months after the monsoon rains this summer which caused widespread and massive flooding. As Mediapart's Nejma Brahim reports from the province, poverty and illness are rife among those left homeless, some of whom feel abandoned to their fate.

  • Denying French visa to journalist Hussam Hammoud would 'gift a victory to Islamic State'

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    Hussam Hammoud. © Photo Abdo Saffaf Hussam Hammoud. © Photo Abdo Saffaf

    The Turkish-based Syrian journalist and Mediapart contributor Hussam Hammoud was refused a visa by the French authorities on September 5th. A month later, on Wednesday October 5th, his legal team appeared at the administrative court in Nantes to appeal against this decision. The journalist's lawyers highlighted the vague approximations and errors in the arguments used by France's Ministry of the Interior to refuse him the humanitarian visa and called for the application to be looked at again. François Bougon reports.

  • Migrant trafficking: the trial of ‘Mr Average’ caught smuggling dinghy and life jackets to the French coast

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    Migrants setting off to cross the Channel to England from northern France on October 16th 2021. © Photo Marc Sanye / AFP Migrants setting off to cross the Channel to England from northern France on October 16th 2021. © Photo Marc Sanye / AFP

    On August 22nd, a total of 1,295 migrants landed on the shores of southern England from France, a record daily figure, bringing the number of people who have made the same perilous crossing of the Channel so far this year to more than 22,500. Migrant smuggling gangs typically demand 3,000 euros per person for a place on the flimsy dinghies and key to the logistics of these networks are ‘mules’ who transport the boats and equipment, often from Germany, to the French coast. Camille Polloni travelled to the northern French city of Lille to follow the trial last week of one of them, whose lawyer said he was a “Mister average who works every day”.

  • Echoes of French colonialism: the Harki weavers from Algeria sent to make carpets

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    Former weavers Zohra Fournier and her sister Habiba Kechout © Photo Prisca Borrel pour Mediapart Former weavers Zohra Fournier and her sister Habiba Kechout © Photo Prisca Borrel pour Mediapart

    In 1964 around 60 Harki families – the Algerians who had fought on France's side in the recently-ended Algerian War of Independence – were shunted off to a housing estate at Lodève in the south of France. The women from the families, all skilled weavers, were put to work in what was to become a small offshoot factory for the manufacture of high-quality rugs and carpets in Paris, and in a bid to revive the local textile industry. But as Prisca Borrel reports, the shadow of French colonial attitudes in Algeria was to loom over this initiative for years to come.

  • Anti-French protests in West Africa spill over into Chad

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    ‘No to France’: anti-France demonstrators in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, May 14th 2022. © AFP ‘No to France’: anti-France demonstrators in the Chadian capital N’Djamena, May 14th 2022. © AFP

    Anti-French sentiment is gaining ground across a number of West African countries, where the presence of the former colonial power, engaged in fighting armed jihadist insurgents across the Sahel, is challenged by growing Russian influence and popular anger against its history of support for strongman regimes. Protests against France’s military presence in the region have now spilled over into Chad, France’s key African ally, governed by a junta, where last month French nationals were targeted in the capital N’Djamena and petrol stations belonging to oil giant Total were ransacked. Rémi Carayol reports.

  • The growing evidence linking Russian mercenaries to abuses in Mali

    By Paul Lorgerie
    An undated French army photo of what it says are Russian mercenaries in northern Mali. © © Photo Armée française via AP / Sipa An undated French army photo of what it says are Russian mercenaries in northern Mali. © © Photo Armée française via AP / Sipa

    Mercenaries from the Wagner Group, a Russian private paramilitary organisation with close ties to the Kremlin, have been linked to summary executions, forced disappearances and arbitrary arrests in Mali, where they are officially presented as “instructors” for the West African country’s army in its war against jihadist insurgents. While the Malian authorities deny that their Russian allies take part in direct combat, numerous eyewitness accounts tell a very different story. Paul Lorgerie reports from Mali.

  • 'Whether we wear a headscarf or not, we're all afraid': the views of French Muslim women

    In the streets of Paris. © Rachida El Azzouzi / Mediapart In the streets of Paris. © Rachida El Azzouzi / Mediapart

    For more than 30 years an obsession with the wearing of the headscarf has dominated public debate in France, and this presidential campaign has been no exception. The far-right candidate Marine Le Pen has even suggested she might ban its wearing in public places if she is elected head of state this Sunday, April 24th. Here Mediapart speaks to French Muslim women at the centre of this incessant and damaging debate, to hear their point of view. Rachida El Azzouzi and Faïza Zerouala report.

  • Witnesses detail Mali town massacre by army and suspected Russian mercenaries

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    Malian troops on patrol in the centre of the West African country, February 2020. © Photo Michele Cattani / AFP Malian troops on patrol in the centre of the West African country, February 2020. © Photo Michele Cattani / AFP

    A Malian army unit accompanied by foreign mercenaries, who from witness accounts appear to be members of Russia's paramilitary Wagner Group, last week carried out summary executions of hundreds of people in the town of Moura, in the centre of Mali, in an operation officially described as a crackdown on jihadist insurgents, according to a report by NGO Human Rights Watch. Mediapart’s West Africa correspondent Rémi Carayol has spoken to survivors of the massacre and with various sources including local rights activists, who say the dead, variously estimated to number between 300 and 600, were mostly non-jihadist civilians.