An eviction is violence for everyone, and if it was a humanitarian operation concerning the inhabitants of the Calais shantytown the state would have sent social workers, not police, and would have taken the time to find solutions to the various situations of the people concerned.
But of all the inhabitants of the shantytown and the two state structures, the container camp and place for sheltering women at the Jules Ferry centre, it is the minors who have suffered the most serious violations of their rights and serious violence (see here, here, here, here, here, here and here).
Currently one thousand eight hundred minors are protected in the container camp, which has a capacity of 1500 places, so in a situation of overcrowding. The minors we interviewed do not know what will follow for them. Dozens of minors are sleeping outside in front of the container camp in tents and shacks still not destroyed the slum, or in the city, in the streets and parks.
There are some isolated minors in the place for sheltering women and children of the Jules Ferry centre, but the greatest opacity reigns on their number and their future. Neither they nor apparently the Jules Ferry center staff know how long it will stay open, and what will become of its residents.
On Wednesday minors were taken by bus to the CAO MIE (Welcome Centre and orientation for Isolated Foreign Minors) created for the occasion out of the legal framework for child protection. Step by step the government is enforcing a national preference removing certain categories of foreigners from common law. Initially minors from the camp claiming to have family in the UK had to be accommodated in containers and others distributed in the CAO MIE but in fact, the containers were filled first, and then the bus took the minors to CAO MIE, without taking into account their future plans. There is no evidence that family reunification with the United Kingdom will be possible from CAO MIE.
But sorting between “minor” and “major” is done through profiling, followed by an interview of less than five minutes. Minors who were therefore considered major through this expeditious procedure have therefore been sent to the adult centres. Volunteer associations that participated in the evacuation also put them on board the buses to adult CAO’s , “because it was better for them to be free.” We do not know at all if once in the adult CAO’s minors will be able to have their minority recognised. Among them, there are minors who were being followed by a Calais association, which were the subject of an OPP (Order of Provisional Placement, allowing them to shelter in the Pas-de-Calais), who had taken steps towards family reunification within the United Kingdom. These efforts were interrupted and it is not known if they can be rekindled, or in the same way whether people will one day be recognized as minor. We cannot stress enough how the associations that participated in the evacuation operation participated in its indignity and the violations of rights that happened.
A petition is circulating to the rights of minors. Please sign and circulate it :
This was entirely predictable and expected, as shown by the open letter of the of the Union of the Judiciary of the Minister of Justice dated October 24th, the first day of the expulsion:
Predictions corroborated by observing the beginning of the eviction by the Legal hut, this association which has been in the shantytown since February 2016 giving information and legal support to the Exiles, in an open letter open to the rights defender:
You can download the open letter from the Legal Hut here.
Things have since become worse .
École Laïque du Chemin des Dunes. Photo : Vanille Ikea.