They were among the lucky ones who left last Tuesday, those who were able to get on the bus to a “respite center”, or Centre d’Accueil et d’Orientation (CAO). The asylum application process was well advanced for many of them, they had their interview with OFPRA, some had even already received the refugee status or subsidiary protection. They already thought about an integration into French society, and they should have already been accommodated in the reception system for asylum seekers, not in the containers of the Calais camp or in a CAO.
They were told they were going to Nevers, and they would be staying in town.
Error, little error, not important at all: it was not Nevers, 35 000 inhabitants, capital of Nièvre. It was Nevoy, near to a syllable, village of 1178 inhabitants in the census of 2013, whose church has a candle holder and a bell as main historical monuments.
But Calais migrants are not hosted in the village. The CAO is on land away which is a large gathering of the Gypsy Evangelical Association “Life and Light”.
This field outside the town can accommodate more than 30 000 people in caravans and on the not yet occupied land were installed 7 containers, surrounded by fences..
So it happens that migrants leaving the container camp surrounded by fences, away from the town of Calais, migrants in hopes of building their life in French society, found themselves in a camp with containers surrounded grids outside the village of Nevoy.
We are not yet sure that all those who left to Nevoy on Tuesday returned to Calais. But many did.
When will we offer them something different from camps?