Facing the difficulties encountered in the Reception and Orientation Centres (CAO – see here, here, here and there), the Exiles concerned, are organising their own protests. But their voices, caught between the police response and the condescension of certain associations who assimilate their word to a symptom without hearing the words, is struggling to the reach further than the walls.
The Police response to Laon, Aisne, where an Exile was arrested. Beyond a few factual elements, the motivations and demands of the Exiles are still unknown.
From a hunger strike at the Beauce CAO, next to Fougeres, in Ille-et-Vilaine, we only know the re-reading by associations who present it as the expression of a malaise which they want to speak about with the Prefect, a meeting that seems to be envisaged without the participation of the people concerned. In any event, it is difficult to understand the situation without knowing the views of the first concerned.
.We have more information about the hunger strike at the CAO in Rennes, since the Exiles there wrote a communiqué, which was disseminated accompanied by a text of their support bringing contextual elements. Just one thing missing, a contact to make the link and keep abreast of the situation.
It is on the basis of these diffuse, partial and scattered elements that we are trying to understand the way in which those evicted from Calais and been dispersed throughout France are collectively confronted with the situation that was imposed on them.
You can download the communiqué of the Exiles of the CAO at Rennes here.
«Wednesday 16 November 2016 in Rennes
We are people who have spent about two years, a year, or six months in the jungle of Calais. Life in Calais is too difficult but we wanted to go to Britain.
In Calais, there was a meeting with the head of OFPRA in Paris and a person from the French government. Almost everyone has given his fingerprints in Italy. They told us they were going to forget the fact that we gave our fingerprints if we went to the towns, that we would be able tochoose. And that they would give us the documents necessary to stay in France or to travel.
At that meeting there were people to whom the same promise was made in 2015 and who had learned that their Dublin was not going to be broken and had managed to return to Calais. The OFPRA person promised that this time it would not be reproduced.
They were trusted because it was not spokespeople who came to see us, but senior officials.
Now, the situation is the opposite of what they told us: when we went to the Prefecture of Ille et Vilaine, we were told that the decision was that they would ask Italy if we could be Readmitted to that country.
Nobody wanted to stay in France but they promised us we could stay there.
We had meetings by communities, by country, to explain to us that we should not flee, that they certainly had our fingerprints elsewhere, but that it was not important, when we might be controlled, but we were promised that the DUBLIN proceedings would be broken.
We believed them, but since we did not want to stay here because France was a country of passage, but if we were accepted here we wanted to make our request for asylum here. But in the end, we realize that this is not true.
As it is the opposite we are being made to live, we will not eat and as there is nothing left to do so we can only do that, stop eating. So yesterday, on November 15th, we decided together to stop eating and also today we told the volunteers who are giving us French lessons that we o not want to do the course, that we were tired By the situation and was all that was left to do.
The officials of Coallia, we do not really know who they are. In the end, the managers of Coallia are doing nothing, we do not know if they are social workers or not. There is a person in charge of the meals who completes the asylum applications of people who are in the normal procedure, they ask the questions in English to fill in the application, otherwise you can have an arabic translator .
There, we are annoyed, we are stressed through not knowing what it is waiting for us.
We want the people who are taking care of our requests to come and talk to us and not to have as interlocutor the managers of Coallia who know nothing about our requests and have no capacity to take decisions.
Through the hunger strike, we want the superiors to be alerted so to be able to talk to them about the fact that the promise was not kept.
Eritrean, Sudanese and Sumatran migrants from Calais to Rennes. “
“Today, Wednesday, November 16th the officials of Coallia of the CAO of Rennes, refused to meet a lawyer and a translator on the pretext that the CAO was a private place and that each proposed activity had to be validated by its officials. The people staying at the CAO have refused to eat for 24 hours and are boycotting the few activities proposed by Coallia.
Faced with this refusal of access to information and their rights for migrants, we are organising ourselves to support their efforts.
The above text was written collectively by migrants translated from English and Tigrinian and translated into French with the help of a translator.”
You can download the press release of their support here.
“Dismantling of Calais: deportations by way of the CAO scheme.
The goal of “dismantling” Calais was to reduce migrants to invisibility.
We want by this testimony to tell what is happening at the CAO of Rennes, and call to make the various situations of the people “sheltered” in all these centres visible and to organize to coordinate the various resistances.
Both in Calais at the time of their departure and at their arrival in the CAO, migrants were told and promised that those of them who are implicated in the Dublin procedure would have their procedure standardized, that is to say they would not be sent back to the first country where they were registered on arriving in Europe (often Italy or Greece). They were then promised that they could apply for asylum in France. (sic first expansive article)
In Rennes last Friday, on the occasion of a canteen that we co-organized with the migrants, we were able to discuss with them their administrative situation. Coallia, who is managing this centre, presses them to fill in their asylum application form without making translators available . With this lack of time and people to translate their stories, some of the migrants imagined writing it in Arabic (while their language is Tigrinian, majority language in Eritrea) and translate it using google translation. This inevitably makes the narration of intimate and personal things more complicated and less precise and therefore incomplete and incomprehensible dossiers.
This would encourage the refusal of asylum applications, whereas in theory the State should provide a translator and administrative assistance to fill in all the files.
Then we learned that 36 out of 47 migrants present at the CAO, when they were summoned to the prefecture between November 2 and 7, had absolutely no normal procedures. This means that at least 36 of the migrants are in the Dublin procedure and are to be sent back to the country where they gave their fingerprints: in their case, Italy. The majority of them are thus summoned on 24th and 25th November for a “notification of the decision to return to Italy, and its implementation”. None of them were aware of the reason for their summons, whereas the summons presents the “signature of the translator who transmitted the reason for the convocation”.
Their “translator” it was enough to communicate to them by telephone the time and date of the appointment.
.The officials of Coallia have given them no guarantee that it will not be the Police who will be waiting for them at their next meeting in the Prefecture or that the policemen will not pick them up directly from the centre.
Besides the catastrophic administrative situation, the physical integrity of the people is not respected either. On Friday evening, after the canteen, one of them was convulsed in pain. He has been in fact ill for a long time, but SOS doctors, called by the security on the spot, refused to come having been “instructed not to intervene in the CAO”. Who gave them this instruction ?
Today, Wednesday, November 16, officials of Coallia of the CAO of Rennes, Victor and Pascal, refused to hold a meeting with a lawyer and a translator. The people staying at the CAO have refused to eat for 24 hours and are boycotting the few activities proposed by Coallia. We are organising ourselves to support their efforts.
The government wanted to sell the dismantling of Calais as a humanitarian operation.
They merely dispersed migrants throughout France in order to invisibilise their situations and facilitate the management of procedures and deportations. “