A death on Thursday evening

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The violence of the border does not go on vacation.

Fisha, 22yo from Eritrea, died last Thursday 3 August around 11:40pm, hit on the highway by several vehicles after jumping from the van in which he was.
This is the seventh known death at the British border in 2017.
It’s not an account, 7 people it’s not a number, each of them it’s a person who’s dead.

http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/200432/article/2017-08-04/un-migrant-meurt-percute-sur-l-a16

A solidarity gathering was held yesterday at 6:30 pm in Calais, as it takes place after every death caused by the border policies.

This year we also remember the death of:
Omar, a 17-year-old Sudanese miner, who was ran over by the bus he was trying to hang on, 22 July in Brussels;

A Polish driver who died after crashing into a barricade on the highway, June, 20;

Kim Le, an person from Vietnam, who committed suicide in the hospital on Wednesday, May 31;

On Tuesday, May 2, an exile who died in the Gare du Nord train station, in Paris, burned by the electricity on the roof of the Eurostar where he had managed to climb;

An Afghan migrant who died following an attempt to cross on 11 March;

Johnsina, a 20-year-old from Ethiopia, who died on Saturday (January 21st) around 8 am, hit on the highway by several trucks.

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Calais : aspects of solidarity offence

With periods more or less under tensions, with some priorities that can vary, repression of solidarity has become a permanent thing in the landscape of Calais.

In 1999, before the opening of the center of Sangatte, with the increase of numbers of migrants and the hardening of British politicies concerning migrations, the French autorities are hesitating on how to act. Unpermanent shelters are opened and then closed, at the same time police is hunting migrants and the prefecture put pressure on associations. Then in July the sub-prefect is threatening associations of criminal proceedings if they continue to distribute food and give some help to migrants who are sleeping rough in the park St-Pierre, in the city center. But this is from the end of 2002, at the closure of the center of Sangatte, that criminal proceedings are used as a tool or repression and intimidation.

Those legal proceedings are responding to different objectives.

They participate to a different way to look at the problematic. In this point of view, the situation would not be related to borders and freedom of movement ; migrants would just come to Calais because there is next to it a shelter center in Sangatte. That’s why the autorities decide to close the center and destroy the shed. In this same logic, solidarity actions are designed like the cause of the presence of migrants. This rhetoric is coming back all the time since the destruction of the slum with ”points of fixation” (this is the term autorities use to designate the actions of associations like showers and food distribution) that we need to erase to get rid of migrants. The prosecution of the actions of volunteers and activists, guilty of this situation that has to stop, is participating to this same logic.

It’s also important to reduce the associative action when it obstructs the action of public powers. For example when they film, make testimonies, document, but also when they open squats, resist deportations, build squats. Between the No Border camp of June 2009 and the beginning of the slum of Calais in April 2015, this is mainly activists of this movement that are targets of proceedings, intimidations and often physical violences, without any concern by the rest of associations. Proceedings use mainly insulting behaviour, rebellion, violence on officers, or degradation when related to the opening of squats. Emergency state is giving new tools to autorities, autorizing bans on protests and meetings on the public highway.

Legal proceedings also participate of a strategy of controling the actions of the associations, in particular during the slum of Calais. They complete other actions justifying more police at the entrances, like tickets for cars, obligation of laissez-passer to access the slum by chemin des Dunes, prohibition of bringing materials to build shelters after the fire on August 25th 2016, if no autorization of the prefecture. In parallel, a new coordination of the actions between associations chosen by the state in the slum is managed by the NGO ACTED, chosen by the state to do it.

It is important to note that the 18 months existence of the slum of Calais have been heavy in repression, with 30 cases identified (soon translated) of legal proceedings or incarceration for further deportation. Except the highly mediatized case of British Rob Lawrie, almost no reaction were generated by main associations, involved in a complex relation with the state made of co-management of the situation, of negociation with restrictions and of conflictuality.

A more complete understanding of the situation collide to a visual defect, linked to a racialized representation of the situation. In the usual representations, the smuggler is a stranger, masculine, generally we give the epithets ”no scruple” and ”very lucrative business”, while in reality, passage as well as smuggling is deeply rooted into the border society. As well in the usual image, the solidarity helper is European, a vision also biased, that give us an uncomplete vision of solidarity actions of migrants and repression.

Therefore a few years ago, in the camp of Norrent-Fontes, close to a parking on the highway near Calais, there was no smugglers and migrants were organizing collectively for crossing. But when a group jumps in a truck, somebody has to stay to close the door, and this person becomes for police the smuggler, the person who facilitate the crossing for others. We then have only a really uncomplete understanding of the situations where solidarity and friendship exists, with or without money, and where this solidarity can be pursuit. We can note that among the 30 people with legal proceedings or incarcerated during the Jungle period, 6 are migrants.

Finally, it should be noted that the intensification of repression in recent months has extended it to other categories, in a kind of scorched earth policy aimed at isolating and depriving exiles of resources. Journalists as witnesses who may be undesirable (see here and there), or some economic actors such as a taxi driver or hotel managers.

The invaders

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“This Monday I was quietly smoking a cigarette while drinking a coffee at the kitchen window. A man appears in the doorway. In the large house in the process of moving and with rooms empty, it seems almost natural. He asks if a doctor lives in the house. He explains that he rang the doorbell and that the door was closed (after checking it will prove that the doorbell is working and he has just pushed open the door). It was then that I noticed his coat of arms and reconize his coat a little strange. The man is a mobile gendarme.

“Doctor”: there is one who has actually lived there until the last few years. The gendarme is informed, inaccurately, of course;  it is actually a neighbor who saw a move and who pointed out the place as a potential squat. The gendarme came to visit, without ringing and without a search warrant, sure of his impunity. We’re in Calais.

It is amusing, because among the rumors circulated by the extreme right is that of invaded Calaisians who find even “migrants” in their dining-room chattering content of the fridge. In reality, they are cops that are found at home in the kitchen. So who are the invaders?

This happened on 12 June 2017 in a house in Calais.

Deportations Dublin, Brest – mobilizations and solidarity actions

About mobilizations against deportations the two last weeks in Brest …

  • On Saturday June 10that 11am, Place de la Liberté, there was a meeting in Brest, initied by Mouvement Zéro personne à la rue, against deportations and Dublin regulations.
  • Monday June 12th, another call was made to gather day and night until the deportations of 7 people (5 to Soudan via Italy, 1 to Somalia via Danemark and 1 to Ethiopia via Germany), with flights on June 13th and 14th at 6.15am from Brest, are being canceled. On the morning the mayor of Brest refused to meet the people concerned who came to ask protection of the municipality. The 7 deportations have been halted for different reasons and because of solidarity actions!
  • There was a meeting saturday June 17th at 12pm after a new wave of 12 flights to deport on Dublin regulation again.
  • On Monday June 19th, people gathered starting at 5pm in solidarity with Mohamed a journalist coming from Somalia which deportation have been prevent tuesday June 13th for health reasons. Mohamed had received a second flight ticket for last tuesday to Danemark, known for deporting almost systematically people to their original countries like Somalia. He is ”prosecuted and endangered in Somalia both by the government and the opponents because of his journalistic activities.
    He first asked asylum in Danemark in 2014 but was twice refused. Endangered by danish autorities he moved to France.
    An article shared by Reporter Without Borders (that was censured) shows how dangerous Somalia is for journalists. https://rsf.org/fr/somalie ” –
    Mouvement Zéro personne à la rue Brest sur Facebook
    Journalist unions also ask France to counter this deportation. (see here)
    His deportation finally didn’t happen. He entered in the airport surrounded by a solidarity group that alerted with passengers and crew members. There was police but finally the plane left without him abroad.

 

From Hunting Down Afghans to the Imprisonment of a Baby

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Late October – early November 2016: destruction of the shantytown in Calais. Several hundred exiles, mostly men and women from Afghanistan, now homeless in Calais, make their way to the Grand Synthe refugee camp. The new arrivals find themselves consigned to the camp’s margin in an area largely controlled by Kurdish traffickers. Tensions mount, and on the 10th of April, there is a violent brawl following which four fifths of the Grand Synthe camp is destroyed in a fire. The government decides that the camp will be neither rebuilt nor reopened, and part of the camp’s residents, mostly Afghans, head back to Calais.

The authorities respond by launching a police manhunt targeted mainly against the returning Afghans. As a result, one man, the father of a family, was arrested at Calais railway station and transferred to the detention centre at Mesnil-Amelot, near Paris, to await deportation to Afghanistan. His partner, an Iranian woman, visits him with their baby daughter, born eight months previously in Calais. The visit takes a wrong turn, and the baby is placed in detention with her father before being put in the custody of the Child Welfare Services. The child’s mother, meanwhile, is arrested and taken into police custody.

And so we have a sign of the clampdown on exiles accompanying the new President of the Republic’s installation.

Below is a communiqué put out by la Cimade:

http://www.lacimade.org/un-bebe-victime-de-lacharnement-de-la-prefecture-du-pas-de-calais/

« A Baby Victim of the Prefecture Clampdown in the Pas-de-Calais

Calais

12 May 2017

An illegal detention, an 8 month old baby put in foster-care, a family broken apart, the father detained and threatened with deportation, the traumatised mother separated from her family … this is the result of France’s current immigration policies.

Mr I. and his partner, Ms V, arrived in France in 2016, and lived several long months in The Jungle at Calais hoping to enter the United Kingdom where they might request asylum. Their daughter Yasmina was born in the hospital in Calais just eight months ago.

The 10th of May, 2017, while accompanying his brother to the railway station, Mr I. was detained by the police. At the Police Station, Mr I. explained his family situation to the police, but he is nevertheless ignored, and the Prefecture of the Pas-de-Calais, decides to try and deport him to Afghanistan with no consideration that the family will be separated. Alone, he is transported to the Administrative Detention Centre (CRA) at Mesnil-Amelot. A series of wrenching human dramas will result from the decision to separate the family.

The following day, Mr I’s partner visits him, with their baby, at the CRA. The situation rapidly degenerates: Ms’ V. refuses categorically to leave the centre without her husband. So acute is her anguish, that she becomes extremely distressed and is expelled from the CRA without her baby, the administration judging that the mother’s distressed condition might endanger her child. The baby is thus left with her father in detention at the CRA.

As the hours pass, the situation becomes more and more fraught. On one side, the child is, along with her father, held in detention, behind barbed wire, outside of any established legal procedure. On the other, the baby’s mother stands watch at the entrance of the CRA, screaming in rage and despair that she must be reunited with her family.

Informed by the administration of the CRA of the dramatic turn of events, the Prefecture du Pas-de-Calais refuses to budge: Mr I’s release is out of the question. In the end, the public prosecutors office at Meaux orders the child to be placed in the custody of the Child Welfare Services, and orders are given fro the mother’s arrest and detention in police custody.

And so, twenty-four hours after the events described, the small family is torn asunder. An eight-month old child is put in a foster home. A father is in detention and threatened with expulsion to a country other than his wife’s country of origin. And a mother – obviously psychologically fragile and perhaps in no fit state to care for her child without assistance – is detained in an unknown location. In the final analysis, the above episode demonstrates how the right to a normal, private family life is regularly violated by the deporatation-machine put in operation by French authorities, especially in the Pas-de-Calais department.

In regard to this particularly dramatic situation, la Cimade demands the immediate release of Mr I. so that he be able to care for his child. »

 

Kamaleddin Behzad (Herat, Afghanistan) : Funeral of the poet Attar of Nishapur.

Destruction of shelters in Grande-Synthe – possible raids in Calais

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While the media attention is focus on the new government and legislative campaign in France, repression is getting worse at the UK-France border.

Refugees didn’t disapear with the fire at the Liniere refugee camp in Grande-Synthe (see here and here). Life conditions are just more precarious and people more vulnerable. Police intimidation is strong, mounted polie are even there to push people out of woods and dunes.

http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/160111/article/2017-05-09/la-police-cheval-pour-dissuader-les-migrants-de-s-installer-au-puythouck

Yesterday thursday afternoon, police destroyed precarious shelters and blankets of the 250 people who were sleeping in the Puythouck wood in Grande-Synthe https://goo.gl/maps/TJYXcqVR7yv. Some families have been hosted by City Hall. For the others, life is just worse. And it’s raining again.

http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/164883/article/2017-05-18/un-campement-de-fortune-du-puythouck-ou-survivaient-des-migrants-evacue

According to different sources, places have been reserved in detention centers (CRA) everywhere in France by the ministry of Interior for some refugees of Calais. Important raids can be expected sometimes soon in Calais.

 

Viktor Vasnetsov : Vityaz at the Crossroads.

Between Concrete and Great Outdoors

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Same location, three months later : the Porte de la Chapelle, in the vicinity of the “humanitarian camp” set up by the mayor of Paris and the French State. (see here and here).

https://goo.gl/maps/qSyu4mkN9AK2

“Push onwards and outwards,” seems to be the motto of the powers that be. West of the Porte de la Chapelle, everything has disappeared, huts and bivouacs, especially under the tracks leading from the gare de Nord. Even the blocks of stone put in place to prevent people from sleeping there have vanished. However, the shantytown inhabited by Roms is still there, against all odds – despite vicissitudes, pressure, fires and efforts at forcible expulsion.

https://www.facebook.com/batisseursdecabanes/

To the east, some tents are still up on the divider in the middle of the boulevard. But here the stone blocks meant to prevent rough sleeping have been left in place, especially under the shelter offered by a railway overpass.

Here, in this bit of space underneath the city’s ring-road `and the on-ramps feeding into the northbound motorway, tents and a few shacks have sprung up on patches of land running along the roadside. This is the site where exiles, now pushed another few hundred metres back, have been able to take shelter.

The location gives onto the Porte de la Chapelle and the “humanitarian camp” fronted by La Bulle, the absurd inflatable dome that serves as its reception centre. Like a grotesque, giant balloon, it gives access to a ridiculously inadequate, under-sized and over-crowded camp, spilling out beyond its confines due to lack of living space. La Bulle represents the government’s sunny promises meant to mask its real policy of “not-welcome.”

Hidden under the ring road, the real encampment running alongside the off-ramps and underpasses gives a true-to-life picture of the harsh reality of “not-welcome.”

 

Victor Hugo: City with brocken bridge.

 

Alert: New Deportations to Norway = risk of deportation to Afghanistan

Being deported to a European country does not guarantee respect for rights. On the one hand, because some European countries do not respect the rights of the deportee, those which offer opportunities for access to protection or a residence permit vary widely from one country to another. But also because some deport more than others to country like those which are at war or where the risks of violation of rights are particularly grave.

Thus, Italy, has a readmission agreement with Sudan to facilitate deportations to that country. For example, Norway has a special recognition rate for Afghan asylum seekers and is a mechanical route for shipping them to Afghanistan (see here, here and there).

Thus, from January to April 2017, out of 3945 asylum applications that were addressed, the Norwegian authorities granted protection in 56% of the cases, a limited residence permit pending the determination of the identity of an asylum claim- In 7% of cases, a claim of minority was accepteded and in 37% of cases the applications were rejected (an acceptance rate practically double that of France).

https://www.udi.no/fr/statistics-and-analysis/statistics/asylum-decisions-by-citizenship-and-outcome-2017/

On the other hand, for Afghans over the same period, out of 1179 requests 22% received a positive response, 23% a limited residence permit for the alleged minor pending the determination of their identity , And 55% recieved a negative answer. In France, based on a recognition rate by OFPRA of 80% in 2016.

Hence the pattern of asylum in Norway for Afghans- rejecton in the majority of cases -the rejected people continue their route to Europe, and demand asylum in a more favorable country like France. The French authorities return them to Norway, the country responsible for their asylum claim under the Dublin III European regulation (because the first country where they applied) and Norway deports them in a few days to Afghanistan without individuals having any access to independent legal advice and the possibility to file an appeal.

Two new situations of imminent expulsion, with appeal for support:

 


 

A petition:

https://www.change.org/p/emmanuel-macron-constant-expulsion-immain-de-qanbar-en-afghanistan-annulez-on-transfert-en-norv%C3%Age

“Qanbar’s nightmare, an Afghan of the hazara ethnic group who is being persecuted in Afghanistan, has begun after opposing the stoning to death of his sister. It is worth the threat of death.

He fled his country, landed in Norway where he was denied asylum (like the vast majority of Afghans: 25.2% agreed against 80.6% in France). Threatened to be expelled, Qanbar left for France, where the Dublin regulation applies: he is incarcerated and must return to Norway.

He is currently awaiting in the Detention Center a CRA and without intervention, he will be deporteded to Afghanistan imminently.

It is necessary to act quickly and cancel the application of the Dublin procedure which decides deportation to Norway and authorize him to apply for asylum in France. ”


for more information:

https://blogs.mediapart.fr/francais-langue-daccueil/blog/060517/la-france-merite-mieux-que-ca

 


 

And a mobilization by e-mail:

HAFIZULLAH, 22, DEPORTATION TO AFGHANISTAN VIA NORWAY

To demand the release of Hafizullah who will be deported to Afghanistan via Norway, please fax, mail to the prefecture of Lozère. You can use the text below:
Hafizullah, 22-year-old Afghan boy, threatened with deportation to Afghanistan

Hafizullah, assigned to residence at Marvejols, Lozere, was arrested through deceipt at the gendarmerie,while reporting there and taken to the detention center in Lyon.
France will deport him to Norway where he had made an asylum application.
It was rejected.
Terrorised at the idea of ​​being expelled to his country of origin, by Norway which has already expelled 577 Afghans since February 2016, Hafizullah came to seek protection of France which does not consider Afghanistan a safe country.
In 2015, Hafizullah had left Afghanistan after the Taliban assassinated his father. His life is in danger in that country still at war.
I refuse to let Hafizullah SAFI be deported to Norway, then Afghanistan.
I request that he be released and file an asylum application in France.

Cabinet du préfet
Fax 04 66 49 17 23
Préfet – Hervé Malherbe
herve.malherbe@lozere.pref.gouv.fr

Secrétaire général – Thierry Olivier
thierry.olivier@lozere.pref.gouv.fr

Fax 04 66 49 03 17
Directrice des services du cabinet – Nadine Monteil nadine.monteil@lozere.pref.gouv.fr

Service des étrangers
Fax 04 66 49 67 22
courrier@lozere.pref.gouv.fr

Chef du bureau des titres et de la circulation – Évelyne Boukera
evelyne.boukera@lozere.pref.gouv.fr

Fax 04 66 49 67 22
and to make known what one thinks , where these decisions are taken :

jean-pierre.jouyet@elysee.fr Secrétaire général Elysée
premier-ministre@pm.gouv.fr Matignon
patrick.strzoda@pm.gouv.fr Dircab Matignon Ex-Dircab Matignon
julie.burguburu@pm.gouv.fr Dircab adjointe Matignon, ex-Dircab adjointe Intérieur
magali.charbonneau@pm.gouv.fr Conseillère Matignon ex-conseillère immigration Intérieur
jean-luc.nevache@interieur.gouv.fr Dircab Intérieur
emmanuel.cayron@interieur.gouv.fr Conseiller immigration
sec.immigration@interieur.gouv.fr      sec.dircabadj@interieur.gouv.fr »

 

Claude Monet: Sandvika, Norway.

 

Eviction of Porte de la Chapelle camps : when insufficiency calls for violence

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We say this over and over again, and never it’s gonna be enough : eviction is always a violence. Even when it ends with relocation. You are surrounded by police, forced to leave your shelter and the place where you establish landmarks and a certain impression of safety, you are classified, constrained to get on a bus, and you never really know where this bus will take you. And this is just the soft version, without physical violences, without destruction of personal belongings, without arrests. We can imagine better ways to access an accomodation.

The city of Paris and the state put in place Porte de la Chapelle, a ”special migrants” housing access project, out of normal access to emergency shelter for homeless people, for minors in danger, for asylum seekers and the accomodation they are supposed to get.

But this place (only 400 places available + another structure for vulnerable people in Ivry) is ridiculously too small, and congested by missing housing solutions in the surrounding areas. This is also a place to classify people, where we can question the legality of certain practices happening there.

So people are sleeping outside around this place, camps and bivouacs are being formed.

And one day we tell them to go. Suddenly we found the places that were cruely missing before, and with which a violent hosting could have been avoid.

This morning May 9th, eviction at Porte de la Chapelle. The last one happened on March 9th, without talking about the small eviction operations. Between those two evictions, unworthy living conditions outside the city. And they will appear again and again, tomorrow, this evening, a bit further if necessary, waiting for the next eviction.

Of course it would be possible in short-term to increase the accomodation capacity of Porte de la Chapelle and Ivry camps, to increase the number of available places around those camps, and to have a welcoming mission for all those places. It would prevent camps to form again and people to be homeless.

The mayor of Paris and the state should also respect the law in term of unconditional shelter for homeless people, for protection of minors and shelter for asylum seekers.

But apparently we are far from this to happen …

 

 

 

 

 

(Pictures : Faty Tiah)

 

A Death on the Eurostar in Paris

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How to try and pass the border with the UK from as far away from the actual border as possible? By getting on board a vehicle bound for the United Kingdom. You could wait at one of the rests stops on the motorway leading towards the coast where lorries headed for the UK often stop. Or you could get on the Eurostar. But unless you manage to get inside a train your chances aren’t good – between the electric arc near the overhead catenary system and the and the powerful rush of air from the train’s speed, your chances of survival are nil.

This past Tuesday, 2 May, at Paris’s Gare du Nord, after succeeding to climb onto the Eurostar’s roof an exile was killed by the electric arc from the catenary system above the train.

http://www.leparisien.fr/paris-75010/paris-gare-du-nord-un-migrant-meurt-electrocute-sur-le-toit-d-un-eurostar-02-05-2017-6908805.php

This is the third exile to have died at the border so far this year. On the 21st of January Johnsina was run over on the motorway near Calais. On the 11th of March, another exile died near Dunkirk following an attempt to cross the border.