FRANCE-UK: Major problems highlighted in report on refugee camps in Calais and Grande-Synthe

On 12 October the results of a fact-finding mission to the formal and informal camps for migrants and refugees in Calais and Grande-Synthe were published. The mission was undertaken in September by Tomáš Bocek, the Council of Europe's Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees, who recorded numerous issues of concern.

Amongst other things, Bocek notes that:

"I was told by the authorities that there was a reluctance to improve conditions because of concerns that this would act as a pull factor, leading more and more migrants to make their way to Calais. However, it seems clear to me that the poor conditions have not acted as a deterrent so far. The current conditions raise potential issues under Articles 3 (prohibition of inhuman and degrading treatment) and 8 (right to respect for private and family life) of the European Convention on Human Rights."

With regard to police violence, he states:

"It was not clear whether there are any pending criminal cases. In my discussions, I detected a certain reluctance on the part of the police to assume responsibility for launching ex officio investigations into the use of force by their own officers and to contribute to the examination of complaints by the Défenseur des Droits."

The report makes numerous recommendations, including for the Council of Europe to call on the French authorities:

"to publish without delay their plans for the accommodation and care of all migrants in the Calais camp, and in particular UAMs and families, pending the closure of the camp.

to confirm that some provision for accommodating migrants will remain in place after the Calais camp is closed to ensure that they are treated in accordance with their human rights under Articles 3 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights."

See: Report of the fact-finding mission on the situation of migrants and refugees in Calais and Grande-Synthe, France by Ambassador Tomáš Bocek, Special Representative of the Secretary General on migration and refugees, 12-13 and 21-23 September 2016 (English, pdf) and in French (pdf) or view the report on the Council of Europe website (link).


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