In the slum they are hungry. That’s what the Association’s press release on the intention to destroy migrants’ shops reminds us. According to a study carried out in February by the Refugee Rights Data Project, 28.4% of those interviewed report they are not eating every day.
We should be outraged that is possible to be hungry in a rich country with plenty of food. But things do not stop there. The State is not doing what it should and what it is doing, by funding one meal a day for less than half of the people, served at the centre Jules Ferry next to the Jungle, is not sufficient. The government is destroying what the migrants have created to meet their own needs, and by interfering with the work of associations it only maintains this situation.
Take as an example the Kids Restaurant, where the British association Jungle Books serves free meals to children. The supply of food or gas is occasionally blocked in the slum. By doing this, the authorities only exacerbate food insecurity.
However, food is not the authorities’ main target. Back in November and December 2015, police blocked the arrival of tents and materials that could be used to construct shelters in the former camp of Grande-Synthe, near Dunkirk, at a time when the number of people was increasing, as well as the cold and humidity. Since the end of May, police have also prevented the contribution of construction materials in Calais migrant camp The Jungle, leaving people exposed to adverse weather.
In addition, inhabitants suffered through the destruction of parts of the shantytown in September 2015, November 2015, January 2016 and March 2016. Camp residents are right now bracing for the impending demolition of shops, which are also used as houses. On top of this, they also live with the possibility of being arrested, anywhere and at any time. Police violence affects dozens of people daily.
At what point can such intentional actions, which affect people physically and psychologically – hunger, vulnerability to elements, permanent insecurity, physical and psychological violence exercised daily – be called inhuman and degrading?
It’s up to defenders of human rights to answer this question.
Bruegel the Elder: The Corn Harvest.