The concentration of the Exiles on the site of the Calais shantytown was accompanied by a policy of 0 squats in Calais. With the destruction of the shantytown, the watchword is 0 migrant in Calais. This results in police pressure, racial profiling, arrests, detention, evictions, and violence. And now with the refusal of any humanitarian measure, announced by the minister of the interior and housing to the associations.
Each of these stages was accompanied by promises, to defuse possible opposition, even to obtain the participation of certain associations. That the Exiles would be “tolerated” on the site where the shantytown was built, which was interpreted as the promise that they would not be evicted (see here and there). Those who were leaving for the CAO (Reception and Orientation Centers – see here, here, here and there) would not be placed under the Dublin procedure, and if they were, they would not be forcibly deported (see here, here, here, here and there). That a humanitarian scheme would be set up in Calais after the destruction of the shantytown.
So it turns out that ministers can lie. Tensions became very strong between the associations which considered the ministerial promises as absolute truth, and those who considered at the very least that they should be wary of them and who denounced the negative sides that were taking place without any notable opposition. We are far from the Spring and early Summer of 2014, when the associations were mobilized together, with their differences, facing two waves of Evictions (see here, here, here, here and there).
We are in Calais in a worse situation than it was in 2014. Is the answer humanitarian? To respond urgently to basic needs, probably. But the state does not have all the rights, it also has duties, in terms of emergency housing for the homeless, protection of minors in danger and protection of refugees. Enforcement would eliminate humanitarian needs, and people in Exile have rights that must be respected. And beyond the law, if we want to live in a society of solidarity it is up to us to build it, bearing in mind that the current government is not going in that direction.
Turner : Calais Jetty