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    Refugees receive food in a makeshift camp in Paris on May 27, 2016 in Paris

    'Catastrophic' Plight of Refugees Prompts Food Distribution Petition in France

    © AFP 2019 / MATTHIEU ALEXANDRE
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    Volunteer Patrice Dubosc's petition to feed starving refugees in Paris, Grande-Synthe and Calais already has about 50,000 signatures, according to Sputnik France.

    A petition calling on Martin Hirsch, Director General of Public Hospitals in Paris, to authorize the distribution of uneaten hospital food among refugees has already attracted around 50,000 signatures, Sputnik France reported, referring to the author of the petition, volunteer Patrice Dubosc.

    In an interview with Sputnik France, Dubosc claimed that almost 40 public hospitals in the French capital could contribute food intended for hospital personnel which usually goes uneaten.

    A Syrian refugee woman packs food on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant park in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, where the refugees spend most of their days awaiting to find housing solutions
    © AFP 2019 / JOEL SAGET
    A Syrian refugee woman packs food on April 21, 2014 in the Edouard Vaillant park in Saint-Ouen, north of Paris, where the refugees spend most of their days awaiting to find housing solutions

    "Seeing this, I proposed to try to stop living as if everything was fine, as if there were no problem [of refugees] which can be resolved by us. This is why I decided to issue this petition, and, apparently, they have already noticed it," he said.

    He described the situation around refugees as "catastrophic", saying that "psychological support [for them] is becoming a luxury" and that there are people in Paris who have scabies.

    "As far as refugees are concerned, we are facing more problems pertaining to malnutrition and water shortages. [For them,] living in Paris is like residing in one of the worst refugee camps," he said.

    Dubosc also mentioned the Calais "Jungle", where he said all cafes and trade have been banned, something that has driven some to starvation.

    A migrant eats a meal outside his tent after it was distributed by volunteers, in a camp located next to the Austerlitz station in Paris, on June 14, 2015
    © AFP 2019 / JOEL SAGET
    A migrant eats a meal outside his tent after it was distributed by volunteers, in a camp located next to the Austerlitz station in Paris, on June 14, 2015

    The "Jungle" is the nickname of a refugee and migrant encampment in the vicinity of the French city of Calais. The camp gained global attention during the European migration crisis, when the population of the camp grew and French authorities conducted evictions.

    "I am one of those who cannot live as if nothing wrong is happening. If you go to Paris, you will see people eating at cafe terraces and others with children sitting on mattresses between these terraces who have nothing to eat. Pardon me, but I cannot live in such a world," he said.

    According to him, "discussing the influx of refugees in terms of economic woes, inter-religious problems and terrorism is shameful."

    Lamenting the fact that migrants' rights have repeatedly been violated, Dubosc pointed the finger at French politicians.

    "Today, there is another problem. People do not want to stay [in France] after such a reception. Unfortunately, it is French politicians who are to blame, not ordinary French. A lot of opinion polls show that the French are ready to accept [refugees]," he concluded.

    France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said in June that his country plans to take in 400 refugees a month under the European Union plan for the distribution of asylum seekers.

    This means that France is increasing its intake substantially, hoping to live up to its commitment to take in 32,000 additional refugees over the next two years.

    December's poll revealed that the French are twice as welcoming as Britons towards Syrian refugees and the mood towards them following the November 2015 terrorist attacks in Paris has remained relatively untarnished, according to YouGov.The eight perpetrators named in connection with the attacks in Paris were all registered as European nationals and in the wake of the attacks, European leaders raised concerns over the freedom of movement rules and the influx of refugees and migrants traveling across Europe's borders.

    Europe is struggling to find a solution to a massive refugee crisis, with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing conflict-torn countries in the Middle East and North Africa. Frontex detected over 1.83 million illegal border crossings in 2015, in contrast to some 283,000 in 2014.

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