The Grande-Synthe refugee camp near Dunkirk was a place of contradictions. It had been created by the municipality and Médecins Sans Frontières to respond to a disastrous material situation on the site where an Exile camp was once and for several years. A disastrous situation due to the very rapid increase in the number of Exiles, from less than one hundred people in the Spring of 2015 to nearly three thousand in November of the same year. But also because of the intervention of the State, the Police controlling access and blocking the supply of tents and materials to build shelters (see here and there). The State tried to prevent the opening of the new refugee camp to international standards (see here and there), then agreed to finance it and changed the reception rules, following a logic of denial that new people might arrive and that the capacity for reception must accompany the variations of the number of people welcomed (see here, here, here and there). After a decline for several months, the number of people then doubled as a result of the destruction of the Calais shantytown at the end of October 2016. Since then, the situation has been deteriorating  until the final fire on the night of 10th / 11th April. Beyond these vicissitudes, the question remains whether refugee camps should be set up in France, one of the richest countries on the planet, where there are already reception facilities for both asylum-seekers and refugees, minors or homeless people.


It was known that there were isolated minors in the former camp on the Basroch site, but their visibility became greater with the creation of the refugee camp at the Linière at least for the associations that intervened. Because in this camp which was financed by the State, and which set up an association to manage it, the AFEJI, an association which is active in the field of child protection in particular, kept the minor children mixed with adults and beyond any protection framework. As if in this refugee camp the French law did not apply (see here and there).

And when the camp burned following violent confrontations between Exiles, no action is taken for the minors. Some have been relocated to gyms, mixed with adults, still outside any legal framework. The rest scattered, simply disappeared, without any follow-up.

Four associations are urging the British government to urgently welcome those minors who could enter the United Kingdom legally if the procedures permitting it were in place:

http://www.helprefugees.org.uk/news/charities-call-government-urgently-transfer-80-children-dunkirk-ruins-uk/

They also note that “at the moment no measures have been taken by the French or British authorities to provide safe accommodation for unaccompanied children at the Dunkirk camp, creating a real risk that children will disappear into chaos. ”

Victor Hugo : Paysage aux trois arbres.

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