Nobody wants the ghetto slum that the shantytown of Calais is, to be perpetuated. But destroying it overnight will only make the situation worse, it will be a return to the time of tarpaulins, people hiding in the interstices of the city for shelter, waiting to be evicted, with tenfold the police means to chase them.

But what could we do, what can we do, because a rich country can afford to ?

Some points can be outlined, based on people’s rights and government obligations – which implies that public policies are not subject to the dictates of migration policy, but that they are instead subject to respect for human rights.

Placing the sheltering of isolated minors within a legal framework for a decision of a placement in Calais, since that is where they are and where they will come back to if their migration project is to go to the United Kingdom, and so this is where they  must be protected. Minors wishing to stay in France could be accompanied to a reception by another Department as part of a project to which he or she adheres. It means rediscovering the meaning of social work, which is not a handling of migration flows. At this scale, national solidarity and European funds must be made available to enable the department of Pas-de-Calais to fulfill its mission.

Respect for the law on people applying for asylum in Calais: registration of their asylum application within three days and their immediate reception into the housing scheme for asylum applicants. This assumes that the resources of the Platform for Asylum Seekers, of the French Office for Immigration and Integration and the sub-prefecture of Calais are increased to enable people to be recorded within the legal deadline for demands. And that reception places are created for asylum seekers- not thousands of Welcome and Orientation centres; a scheme which is unclear and outside common law.

The suspension of the application of the Dublin III Regulation, except in cases of family reunification, would unravel the often complex individual circumstances, simplifying the work of the administration, and avoid costly evictions from country to country. The regulation contains a clause allowing a State to examine an application for asylum which another state is responsible for; rather than deporting the person. We must extend the use of this clause, to unblock the situation of many people who claim asylum in Calais or elsewhere, and allow them to do it in France without delay.

Creating worthy reception conditions in Calais for people stranded at the British border. Several tracks are in debate: the creation of human-sized reception units spread throughout the Calais area , the evolution of the shantytown to a safe habitable area connected to the town (which implies that it is not destroyed, but we can imagine in the same way the development of new places which are sure to be created), the transient creation of a refugee camp to deal with emergencies. The debate should be to find the most appropriate reception solutions.

Renegotiation with the British government of border management arrangements. The question is not so much whether the passport control by British police should be done in France before boarding or in the UK, than that all the security apparatus installed on French soil – the fences, razor wire , the detection systems, the oversized police force, racial profiling, arrests, deportations, and violence – which have to be dismantled.

The politics of the British reception of foreigners, and therefore the question of who can legally cross the border, is not just about the United Kingdom, since its effects are felt on the ground of neighboring countries. These are mainly people seeking asylum who are blocked at the British border, so it’s a question of the distribution of international solidarity. These issues must be discussed with the British government in the direction of greater openness.

Its for associations to develop their capacity to carry a clear discourse on these issues.


If the French government discovered the principle of reason.