France: Death of a ten-year-old child in Roissy: another victim of European migration policies?

Statement originally published by by Anafé (Association Nationale d'Assistance aux Frontières pour les étrangers) on 8 January 2020.

This morning [8 January], the body of a child of around ten years of age was found in the landing undercarriage of an aeroplane arriving from Abidjan (Ivory Coast) to the Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport (Paris). Following identification, it has been confirmed that the Senegalese child was 14-year-old Ani Guibahi Laurent Barthélémy from Abidjan.

Although tragedies are frequent in the Mediterranean, between the Comores and Mayotte, and in other parts of the world, this situation is more exceptional, or at least less well known, in French ports and airports.

The last similar situation which received media coverage in Roissy airport dates back to 2013, when the body of a Cameroonian national was found in an aeroplane's landing undercarriage. However, we know that there are several similar cases every year. In 2014, it was in the port of Marseille, where a Guinean national drowned after having been re-embarked on the boat when he wished to submit an asylum application in France. More recently, in late October 2019, six minors barely avoided asphyxiation in a container in the port of Marseille.

"Once again, this tragedy shows the consequences of European migration policies that push people who are migrating to place themselves in increasing danger. This is what needs to be challenged and transformed in order for people on the move, including children, not to lose their lives during their migration journeys", Laure Palun, the director of Anafé, stated.

In fact, obstacles to mobility are growing more numerous: strict visa policy, criminalisation of migrant people, enhanced border controls, airport transit visas (including for holders of an Ivory Coast passport), fines for airlines that allow people who do not have all the necessary documents to travel on board…

For as long as there will not be (or there are too few) safe routes of access to French and European territories, the current logic of French and European migration policies will result in people on the move taking increasingly greater risks that sometimes result in their death.

Translation by Statewatch. Original (in French) available here.


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