Meeting held to coordinate action on Calais migrants

Dismantling of the Calais camp: meeting with Bernard Cazeneuve, Emmanuelle Cosse and the voluntary organizations involved – Communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Homes

Paris, 11 October 2016

In the context of the ongoing dialogue being held with voluntary organizations working in Calais or at reception and guidance centres (CAOs), Mme Emmanuelle Cosse, Minister of Housing and Sustainable Homes, and M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, today had a third national meeting with them since the government took the decision to dismantle [the Calais camp]. The Ministers recalled the purpose of the dismantling operation, which is to accommodate men, women and children who have fled war and persecution and been drawn into the Calais quagmire by those involved in human trafficking. The operation builds on the intense work being done on the ground by state services and voluntary organizations, which has already enabled 6,700 asylum applications to be lodged in Calais since 2014. This meeting, as with previous ones, was fully in keeping with the government’s determination to proceed with this humanitarian operation in close consultation with the voluntary organizations working in Calais.

The situation the people in the Calais camp find themselves in today is unworthy of France. There can be no justification for this situation continuing any longer. The government has therefore decided to dismantle the camp, a humanitarian imperative that will take into account the situation of each person – particularly unaccompanied minors and those who are ill or vulnerable – and offer them a tailored solution to provide shelter and a pathway to asylum. This ambitious goal is mobilizing state services and their partners and will continue to do so, after the dismantling, at CAOs, at asylum seekers’ reception centres and in Calais itself. To facilitate the consultation effort, the Ministers have tasked MM. Jean Aribaud and Jérôme Vignon – who issued an excellent report on the migration situation in Calais in June 2015 – with bringing together the various players’ assessments. The goal of this mission will also be to work with voluntary organizations on measures to be put in place after the dismantling.

In order to be able to offer shelter places to every person leaving the camp, places in CAOs are being prepared in every part of the country. The Ministers paid tribute to the remarkable job done by the préfets (1), which has allowed solutions to be found in departments by making buildings available. To date, nearly 7,000 places have been created in new CAOs, adding to the 3,000 already existing places. For the past year, CAOs – temporary reception structures of a manageable size (60% of these centres offer fewer than 20 places), managed by specialized voluntary associations, which run them on the state’s behalf – have already temporarily taken in nearly 6,000 people, in 164 centres situated in 84 departments, allowing them to benefit from advice on social, health and administrative matters, and to be given support in claiming asylum.

The Ministers fully share the concern expressed by voluntary organizations about the situation of unaccompanied minors. Specific account is being taken of these situations, in accordance with their rights, against the yardstick of the essential priority, namely not to leave them in the very poor situation they find themselves in today. The Interior Minister went to London on 10 October to have a meeting with his counterpart, Ms Amber Rudd, about this. All minors will be offered guidance tailored to their situation, in the United Kingdom and in France.

Finally, the Ministers pointed out that the camp will be dismantled when the conditions have been met for each person to be taken care of. The practicalities of the dismantling will be set out in detail in due course./.

(1) prefects [high-ranking civil servants who represent the state at the level of the department or region].

Published on 17/10/2016

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