The emergence of state-controlled sites providing shelter does not mean access to rights for those sheltered people. This is clearly the case of the CAOMI (Reception and Orientation centres for Isolated Foreign Minors – see here, here and there), a mechanism whereby the rights of minors expelled from Calais Shantytown and the two related places set up by the State (the container camp and women and children shelter at the Jules Ferry centre – see here, here, here, here and there). This is also the case with the Grande-Synthe refugee camp.

After attempting to prevent its creation, the State eventually decided to finance its operation and take control of it by deciding on new operating rules and entrusting its management to AFEJI. If the association that had previously managed the camp had arrived with only logistic experience through the organization of festivals in Brittany only managed through the mobilization of a large network of volunteers, AFEJI is an association that manages various services in the social field on a professional basis (“our 2,825 professionals welcome and accompany more than 14,402 people in our 98 institutions and services”

In a 4-page English note, the Dunkirk Legal Support Team describes the extremely precarious situation of the one hundred and eighty-eight minors it has identified, while highlighting the difficulties in accessing all of them in a place where they are not taken into consideration, despite the legal obligation to provide them with protection.

The approach and follow-up work required for access to rights runs up against both the role that the “smugglers” have in the camp and the difficulty of maintaining contact with minors if people leave the camp . The dismantling of the shelters, a corollary of the decision of the State not to welcome new people on the site, leads them to sleep in collective spaces of four or five to each shelter mixed with adults.

In addition to these difficulties, the obstacles put in place by the AFEJI and the French and British authorities to the recognition of the minority.

You can download the note from the Dunkirk Legal Support Team in english here.


Giovanni Battista Piranesi :  Imaginary prisons, planche XIV.