News / Europe

French Police Evict Migrants Trying to Reach Britain

French Police Evict Migrants Trying to Reach Britaini
X
Henry Ridgwell
May 28, 2014 8:27 PM
Teams of riot police surround camps housing immigrants who have fled war-torn countries and are trying to reach Britain. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Teams of riot police surround camps housing immigrants who have fled war-torn countries and are trying to reach Britain. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Henry Ridgwell
French police began clearing hundreds of immigrants from makeshift camps in the English Channel port town of Calais on Wednesday.

After announcing the evictions a week earlier, teams of riot police surrounded three camps housing the immigrants, many of whom have fled war-torn countries such as Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea, and are trying to reach Britain by stowing away on trains or ferries. Many of the estimated 800 migrants had left the camps after being warned about the impending evictions.

Local officials said there was an outbreak of scabies and the camps had become a danger to public health.

But Cecile Bossy of the medical charity Doctors of the World, which works with the migrants, say the evictions will not solve anything.

"It means that some of the migrants will wander into the town and their health conditions will be more severe and more precarious," she said, adding that the policy of repression and eviction is useless, leaving the migrants in hardship and putting their health at risk.

The evictions come just days after far-right anti-immigration parties topped European elections in both France and Britain. The victorious French National Front party leader Marine Le Pen raised the issue on the campaign trail, calling for France to exit Europe’s passport-free area known as the Schengen zone.

Calais has long attracted floods of immigrants fleeing poverty or conflict in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. They hope to cross the 30-kilometer sea channel that separates France from Britain, where the migrants believe they will access better treatment and greater opportunities.

The camps have little sanitation, no electricity, and migrants say food is scarce.

Many risk their lives clinging to the axles of trucks bound for Britain. But some, such as Sudanese refugee Abdou, it's worth the risk.

“My dream is small. Yes, I want a house, I want some girl, this is my life, and I want to work, and I want to learn," he said. "It's my dream. I don't want anything else.”

Andrej Mahecic of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the migrants make the perilous journeys for different reasons.

“For UNHCR it is important to make a very clear distinction between asylum seekers and those that might be migrating for other reasons," he said. "When it comes to the asylum seekers, the French authorities have put in place the special measures for those who seek asylum.”

Mahecic says the number of migrants converging together in camps like this would be cut if Europe agreed on a common asylum policy.

“You have a situation across Europe where you have uneven [asylum] recognition rates; you have a different quality of decisions, if you like, across Europe. And, for example, for Syrians, they range in Europe from barely one percent in some European countries to virtually 100 percent in some others.”

Le Pen, the French National Front party leader, said that if France was able to control its own borders the migrants would not be in Calais.

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grievingi
X
Benno Muchler
March 26, 2015 3:41 PM
Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video US, South Korea Conduct Joint Military Exercises

The Eighth U.S. Army Division and the Eighth Republic of Korea Mechanized Infantry Division put on a well orchestrated show of force for the media this week during their joint military training exercises in South Korea. VOA’s Seoul correspondent Brian Padden was there and reports the soldiers were well disciplined both in conducting a complex live fire exercise and in staying on message with the press.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Young Filmmakers Shine Spotlight on Giving Back

A group of student filmmakers from across the United States joined President Barack Obama at the White House this month for the second annual White House Student Film Festival. Fifteen short films were officially selected from more than 1,500 entries by students aged 6 through 18. The filmmakers and their families then joined the president and a group of celebrities for a screening of their films. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video VOA Exclusive: Interview with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, during his first visit as president to Washington, gave a one-on-one interview with VOA Afghan Service reporter Said Suleiman Ashna, about his request for a change in U.S. troop levels, the threat from the Islamic State, and repairing relations with the United States and Pakistan. The interview was held at Blair House, late Sunday, in Pashto.
Video

Video California Science Center Tells Story of Dead Sea Scrolls

The ancient manuscripts were uncovered in the mid-20th century, and they are still yielding clues about life and religious beliefs in ancient Israel. As VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, an exhibit in Los Angeles shows how modern science is bringing the history of these ancient documents to life.
Video

Video Angelina Jolie Takes Another Bold Step

Hollywood actress and filmmaker Angelina Jolie has revealed she had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed to lower her odds of getting cancer. Doctors say the huge publicity over her decision will help raise awareness about the importance of cancer screening. VOA’s George Putic has more

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More