Category Archives: France

Calais: recording reveals gendarmes sending away migrants who wanted to file complaints about police violence

French newspaper Libération was recently given a recording showing how the gendarmes snubbed migrants who had come to file a complaint against police violence in Calais.

On 24th June 2014,Clémence Gautier, lawyer at the Calaisien migrant support association Plateforme de services aux migrants, went to gendarmes in Norrent-Fontes (Pas-de-Calais) with Eritrean migrants to file a complaint against the police and a lorry driver for assault and inflicting injuries. She recorded several minutes of dialogue and gave the recording to Libération.

Clémence had been confident of being treated well by the police, but was seriously disappointed. The gendarmes dissuaded the migrants from filing a complaint and alluded to taking the migrants to a detention centre.  One gendarme said that it was “excusable” that the lorry driver had hit the migrants.

In the days following the failed attempt to file a complaint, the gendarmes stepped up their presence in Norrent-Fontes, where the migrants were sleeping next to the motorway.

85 Syrians arrested at Gare du Lyon, Paris, 27/03/14

85 Syrian migrants, including 41 minors, were arrested 27/03/14 at the Gare du Lyon in Paris, reports Le Parisien. They were on a train coming from the Burgundy region of France.

The majority of the migrants were given an order obliging them to leave France within one month. On Friday, a group of them attempted to go to Germany, but they were stopped at the border and sent back into France.

Protest against KLM deportation flight on Tuesday to Guinea

At 8am this Tuesday, 29th January, a sick man is due to be deported to Guinea, report Deportatie Verzet. This is the third time that the DT&V (the Dutch government’s ‘Transport and Return Service’) have booked a flight for this man. The DT&V wants to use a travel document that has possibly not be received through official channels. Furthermore, the deportation is in contravention of Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights (ECHM) and a medical emergency will quickly arise if the refugee is sent back.

The man has various several medical problems, and just before Christmas the DT&V asked for medical advice from the Bureau of Medical Advice (BMA). The BMA came to the conclusion that if the man does not receive medicine then a medical emergency will quickly arise: he will go completely blind. According to the BMA the medicines are available in Guinea. However an enquiry with the chemist in Guinea to which the BMA refers has revealed that this is not the case. They have stated in writing that they do not have the necessary medical equipment at their disposal. Yet the DT&V have booked a flight to deport this man.

The refugee has a 3-year-old son in the Netherlands, with a residency visa. The permanent residency procedure for the son has been rejected by the IND. The lawyer has filed a complaint about this. The IND recognises the right to family life set out in Article 8, but according to the IND government interference is justified. The biggest reason for this, according to the IND, is that the refugee himself started a family life in the Netherlands without having the right to stay. In doing so they ignore the fact that in 2007-2008 he was in the Netherlands legally as there was a moratorium on deportations to Guinea. Furthemore the IND says that the mother (from Cote D’Ivoire) and child (born in the Netherlands) can go with the man to Guinea in order to continue family life there. The IND has not investigated whether the woman or child would be allowed into Guinea, given that they are not from there.

The DT&V wants to deport the refugee to Guinea. The travel document, a so-called ‘titre de voyage’, with which the DT&V wants to deport the man, has appeared under very dubious circumstances. Workers from the Guinean Embassy have told the refugee that the travel document is certainly not from them and that he can put himself in danger if he is deported with such a document. Furthemore, 3 volunteers at the Emergency Accommodation (Noodopvang) in Utrecht have been told by both Guinean consul (Ms Toure) and ambassador (Mr Sylla) that the document has not come from them.

The ‘titre de voyage’ in the name of the potential deportee is signed with the name of Ms.Toure, but Ms Toure has verbally stated that this document has not been signed by her. The DT&V’s use of these ‘titres de voyage’ has already been investigated by Nieuwsuur (Dutch TV news programme). Following this investigation the Supervisory Committee for Returns (CITT) started an investigation into the documents, but no findings have been released so far.

Source: Stichting Noodopvang Dakloze Vreemdelingen Utrecht (SNDVU)

The workgroup Deportatieverzet is calling everyone to strongly protest against this planned deportation. Some of the ways you can protest are:

  • on the Facebook page from KLM, the deporting airline;
  • via Twitter @KLM;
  • Phoning KLM:  +31(0)20-5459780;
  • Phoning Air France (the second deporting airline) on +31(0)20 – 545 97 80
  • Through sending a complaint, remark etc. about asylum policy to the Secretary of State using this reaction form.

The flight number is KL1229, it leaves at 08:00 to Paris Charles de Gaulle, and afterwards probably AF724 (Air France), leaving at 11:00 to Conakry.

Arrests in Calais for ‘aiding illegal immigration’ 16-12-13

Several individuals were arrested last night in Calais on suspicion of ‘aiding illegal immigration’, according to La Voix du Nord. Some arrests took place at a flat which, according to neighbours, was rented by a young woman who had been letting up to a dozen men into the apartment every night for the last few months. Several other arrests happened outside Calais as part of the same operation, which was launched by a prosecutor in Boulogne-sur-Mer.

Two British men imprisoned for people trafficking, Boulogne-sur-Mer, 12-06-13

The Voix du Nord reports that two British men were sentenced on 12-06-13 to two years in a closed prison for people trafficking.

The men were arrested on 10-06-13 in the English Channel in an inflatable dinghy with 8 Vietnamese migrants.

The Vietnamese migrants (who were later released) told the border police that they were picked up in the middle of the night by a boat off a beach in Calais, and that they had paid up to €3000 to traffickers for the trip. However the suspected traffickers told the police and later the court that they had come across the Vietnamese by chance, having left a English shores at 4am on a fishing trip, and that they rescued the Vietnamese because their boat was sinking.


‘Egyptian squat’ in Calais evicted 22/05/13

At 8am on Wednesday 22nd May the ‘Egyptian squat’ in Calais, considered the largest squat in the town, was evicted, reports La Voix du Nord. 17 sans-papiers, from Egypt, Palestine and Syria, were inside at the time. At 10am a mechanical crane arrived and destroyed the front part of the building.

The sous-préfet of Calais, Alain Gérard, who was present during the eviction, said that the operation took place ‘without aggressiveness, with dignity and with humanity’.

According to the report, shortly after the eviction a number of other sans-papiers arrived who had been staying in the squat but had been out overnight trying to secure passage across the Channel.


Calais: 5 Afghans charged with aiding ‘clandestins’ and violence, 23/04/13

5 Afghans were arrested on Tuesday 23rd April in a car park in the Transmarck zone of Calais, charged with aiding ‘clandestins’ and violence against a minor.

The 5, some of whom are under 18, appeared before a judge after their arrest and will be held in custody until 31st May, when their trial will begin.

The police say that they have conducted a 2 month investigation into the 5 and that they charge €700 for passage to the UK. According to the police, the men beat up a migrant in order to take money from him, and also beat up a French minor who was watching them.