Refugees in Calais Face Inhumane Conditions, Aid Efforts Restricted - French NGO

© AP Photo / Matt DunhamIn this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo migrants gather near a fence in Calais, northern France.
In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo migrants gather near a fence in Calais, northern France. - Sputnik International
PARIS (Sputnik) - The conditions in which refugees find themselves in the French city of Calais are inhumane and not getting any better as authorities continue to restrict NGO efforts to provide humanitarian aid, French non-governmental organization L'Auberge des Migrants told Sputnik.

"We work a lot in Calais, and there are as many police as migrants, if not more. We are in a more and more restrictive situation, with migrants becoming a constraint, rather than in a situation of humanity and reception. This is a certainty, in Calais in particular. There are constant instructions to take away blankets so that people can’t sleep or find shelter. That’s something I find incredibly inhumane," President of L’Auberge des Migrants Christian Salome said.

According to Salome, the French government's new bill on immigration and asylum policy will make deportations happen even before the relevant applications are processed, a scenario which is "very disturbing." 

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Speaking further, Salome warned that migrants would be disadvantaged since the time needed to prepare the necessary documents would be shortened while administrative delays would have the same duration.

"It’s only the time given to them to justify their claim that will be shortened, but not the administrative delays. Secondly, if they don’t get a refugee status at the first level [in French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless people], they can appeal to CNDA [National Court of Asylum], but it won’t have suspensory effect anymore, meaning people are risking being sent back to their states of origin. We cannot sent people back while the procedure is not yet finished in France. This is very disturbing… " Salome said.

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On Wednesday, the French government is presenting its plan on asylum and immigration policies, which aims to differentiate asylum seekers from economic migrants, and to send the latter back home. The plan has already triggered criticism among migrant charity organizations.

Last month, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that around 26,000 illegal migrants were sent back in 2017, noting that forced returns increased by 14 percent compared to previous years.

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France, as well as a number of other European states, has been significantly affected by the ongoing migration crisis. The city of Calais, located near the French side of Channel Tunnel connecting France and the United Kingdom, has for years been home to hundreds of migrants trying to cross the border. The migrant camp in Calais was dismantled in 2016 because of the horrible living conditions there.

Even though the camp was dismantled, asylum seekers and refugees still arrive to the city and are forced to stay on French soil with no proper refuge or sanitary conditions. Moreover, human rights organizations have uncovered malicious practices exhibited by the local police, who abuse migrants or use tear gas on them.

The views and opinions expressed by Christian Salome are those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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