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    In this Thursday, Oct. 27, 2016 file photo migrants gather near a fence in Calais, northern France.

    UN Rights Office Urges France to Provide Water for Migrants in Country's North

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on Wednesday urged the French government to provide safe drinking water, sanitation services, and emergency shelter for migrants who remain in the areas along the northern French coast, including Calais, Grande-Synthe, Tatinghem, and Dieppe.

    "It is estimated that up to 900 migrants and asylum-seekers in Calais, 350 in Grande-Synthe, and an unidentified number at other sites elsewhere along the northern French coast are living without adequate emergency shelter and proper access to drinking water, toilets or washing facilities," the UN body's statement read.

    According to Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation Leo Heller, some migrants have to wash in polluted rivers or lakes as they lack access to relevant facilities.

    READ MORE: Paid Leave: France Offers Migrants €2,500 to Return Home

    Heller also stressed that France had made some efforts to resolve the issue, however, that they were not sufficient.

    "Some efforts have been made, but not enough. I am concerned that for every step forward, two steps are taken back," he said, adding that national as well as international authorities had to pay more attention to the problems of migrants along the northern French coast.

    According to the statement, since 2017, the French authorities have taken temporary efforts to provide migrants with emergency shelter, drinking water, and sanitation, including hosting about 200 migrants in a sports center in Grande-Synthe.

    Migrants are entitled to human rights regardless of their status, the organization stressed, adding that by dismantling migrant camps France was violating its international human rights obligations.

    • Migrants walk in a refugee camp in Grande-Synthe, northern France. (File)
      Migrants walk in a refugee camp in Grande-Synthe, northern France. (File)
      © AFP 2018 / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
    • Refugees at a special center for the relocation of migrants (Centres d'Accueil at d'Orientation) near a refugee camp in Calais, France.
      Refugees at a special center for the relocation of migrants (Centres d'Accueil at d'Orientation) near a refugee camp in Calais, France.
      © Sputnik / Irina Kalashnikova
    • Volonteers of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency and La Vie Active association help unaccompanied migrant minors, from the demolished Jungle migrant camp in Calais, to board a bus to travel to reception centres around France on November 2, 2016 in Calais, northern France
      Volonteers of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) agency and La Vie Active association help unaccompanied migrant minors, from the demolished "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, to board a bus to travel to reception centres around France on November 2, 2016 in Calais, northern France
      © AFP 2018 / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
    • A painting by English graffiti artist Banksy is seen at the entrance of the Calais refugee camp in France
      A painting by English graffiti artist Banksy is seen at the entrance of the Calais refugee camp in France
      © AP Photo / Michel Spingler
    • In this Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 file photo, a man walks beside a decomposing poster reading 'The jungle is not for us, the jungle is for animals' fixed by a Sudanese refugee at a tent, inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France.
      In this Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 file photo, a man walks beside a decomposing poster reading 'The jungle is not for us, the jungle is for animals' fixed by a Sudanese refugee at a tent, inside the migrants camp near Calais, northern France.
      © AP Photo / Markus Schreiber
    • Refugees stand in the so-called Jungle migrant camp in Calais, northern France
      Refugees stand in the so-called "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais, northern France
      © AFP 2018 / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
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    © AFP 2018 / PHILIPPE HUGUEN
    Migrants walk in a refugee camp in Grande-Synthe, northern France. (File)

    The OHCHR also urged France to ensure protection and safety for volunteers and members of non-governmental organizations who provide humanitarian aid in the region.

    France, as well as a number of other European states, has been significantly affected by the ongoing migration crisis. One of the French northern-coast cities, Calais, which is located near the French side of Channel Tunnel connecting the country with the United Kingdom, has for years been home to hundreds of migrants trying to cross the border. In 2016, the migrant camp in Calais was dismantled due to the horrible living conditions there. Even though the camp was dismantled, asylum seekers and refugees still arrive at the city and are forced to stay on French soil.

    READ MORE: Belgian MP: Italy Gov’t Misreads Its People in Slamming France on Migrant Search

    In 2017, over 100,000 migrants and refugees applied for asylum in France, which became the highest number in the past 40 years. In January, French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that around 26,000 illegal migrants were sent back in 2017, noting that forced returns had increased by 14 percent compared to previous years.

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    Tags:
    water, migrants, refugees, UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR), UN, France
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