The National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) is an independent authority whose role is to advise the parliament and the government on matters of fundamental rights and civil liberties. It mainly expresses its positions through opinions and reports. When the president of this institution goes outside this framework to address directly the Prime Minister, it is to mark the gravity of the situation. She did so with a letter dated 24 February and made public by the CNCDH, underlining the gravity of the abandonment situation in which exiles are left, many of whom are minors, as well as the harassment, intimidation and prosecution of persons in solidarity, both in Calais and on the Franco-Italian border. In the letter, she therefore asks the Prime Minister to review the political choices that have led to this situation. You can read the letter from the President of the CNCDH to the Prime Minister here (both in French): http://www.cncdh.fr/fr/publications/lettre-de-la-presidente-concernant-la-situation-des-migrants
In Calais, the shower war continues (see here, here and here), conducted by both the municipality and the state against the people living on the street who come to wash themselves, and also against the Secours Catholique which has installed those showers in the courtyard of a hangar owned by the association.
This afternoon, when the showers were to begin, four CRS vans and one unmarked car were parked near the entrance. The police control the first vehicle that brings exiles in, and arrest seven minors, then three minors and four adults that were in the next vehicle. According to the police, minors would be taken to the reception center for foreign isolated minors managed by France Terre d’Asile in Saint-Omer, 30 km from Calais. Where they will not stay if they want to try to go to the United Kingdom, and in this case they will return by foot, or train, with the risk of being stopped again during the systematic racial profiling controls which happen in Calais station (see here, here, here and here). The police say they act on the prosecutor’s requisition, which would mean that the prosecutor considers taking a shower as a threat to public order, justifying these controls.
The showers did not take place this afternoon, so that the people who would have come to wash wouldn’t have been stopped.
In Paris, it is the war of breakfasts. On 16 February, volunteers who come to distribute breakfast to the exiles who sleep outside the so-called “humanitarian” camp set up by the major of Paris Porte de la Chapelle (see here in French, here and here in English) are obstructed by the police, which presents a document that is supposed to be a decree issued by the préfecture of police. Who denies having given such an order. Blocks of stone were also put in the neighborhood by the town hall to prevent people from sleeping nearby.
On the page of the collective Solidarité migrants Wilson, February 16:
«16/02 HONTEUX: by order of the prefect, any distribution of food and drink around the center is now FORBIDDEN!
After taking away blankets, after the dispersions, AFTER THE STONES, we move on to the next stage: the migrants are PREVENTED TO EAT.
8:30 this morning, when we go to the police to inform them of our presence, they forbid us to distribute. Neither in front of the center. Neither in front of the waste dump. Nor on the other side of the crossroads. Nowhere. And for good measure, they give us two fines when we leave (5th fine for our small collective)!
We haven’t seen from close the document from the préfecture, which lists all the locations forbidden to us. Let us reassure ourselves, anyway we were able to distribute food, our 45 liters of hot beverages and all our bags of unsold bakery, but under what conditions! Hidden well beyond the bridge, on a corner of the sidewalk where we still weren’t sure we would have not been bothered, and where hundreds of migrants (300 goblets used this morning) have nevertheless managed to find us.
The other scandal is that from now on, it is confirmed, there is nothing more to eat or drink for the migrants admitted in the daily reception in the center! They will spend the day with their bellies empty. The volunteers who manage this welcome are to recover the remains of our distributions to have themselves something to distribute inside! Yesterday a family was staying there all day and the volunteers did not even have a bottle of water to give to the children: yes, it is also that, the welcome that the City Hall of Paris is so proud of.
And now no one will have anymore access to the sidewalks of the center to at least feed and warm the people in the queue …
BUT HOW ARE SUPPOSED TO FEED THEMSELVES ALL OF THESE MEN, THESE WOMEN, THESE CHILDREN?
WE WILL CONTINUE EVEN UNDER THREAT!
HOW TO HELP US? You can support us financially via our online funding https://www.leetchi.com/c/solidarite-migrants-wilson
And you can join us by signing up on our online schedule https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1CDTu2aZcuhldwhfPfrch75FxfsIFTbe97SN17bq2MQc/edit?ts=5849bb00#gid=0, the idea is that of being lots to register once a month to ensure a daily presence.
Added February 18: Many of you joined our call to join our morning breakfast to support our right to be in solidarity and humane! THANKS TO ALL. ”
“PROHIBITION OF DISTRIBUTION: the sequel
I have called the Prefecture of Paris to have the heart of it.
Here is the answer that was given to me: “There is no decree. No ban on distribution. Just a few restricted areas. ”
So, of course, I was surprised: And the document that the policeman read to me, and shown, which was dated February 13, the day when police officers chased the Wilson Migrant Solidarity volunteers during the distribution? And the physical prohibition to distribute that we were made?
Answer: “There is no decree”. But this official paper then? Answer: “There is no decree”, if there is no decree what is it then? Answer: “There is no decree”
And what should we do tomorrow if we are forbidden to distribute again? “Well, you will obey the police, of course. Whatever they ask you. For safety reasons. ”
And the fines? “If they gave you one, you must have started to distribute when you were forbidden.” (when we were fined we had not begun to distribute, and we moved away following their order).
It is still unclear what the nature of this document was. It has indeed been seen, even from far. And it was read to us. So, if we have understood what the Prefecture has said and repeated (“There is no decree”), what was it? An internal document, written instructions for police officers on the ground?
We don’t even know what prefecture could deliver it. Would it be the prefecture of Seine-Saint-Denis, which was on the same place this famous Monday 13? Yet the “Humanitarian Center PARIS Nord” is under the jurisdiction of Paris, right?
We do not know what was really written there and what part could have been changed from the interpretation of a somewhat over-zealous official: we have seen it from too far.
What is certain is that our distribution has been banned in the outskirts of the center, that our interventions, which are merely a matter of simple humanitarian sense, are every day more difficult and that we simply want to be able to continue as long as the issue is not taken over by the public authorities as it seems to us it should be. In the meantime at least people should be allowed to sleep, to protect themselves from the rain, to drink water and to eat. ”
Media coverage seems to have made the prefecture and the town hall take a step back from the ban on breakfasts, but the police multiply the fines on the vehicles of the volunteers, as it did in Calais (in French).
Jacques Callot: Tennis game on Santa Croce square, in Florence.
As if the prefect of Pas-de-Calais wanted to celebrate his promotion as a prefect of the Normandy region (http://www.lavoixdunord.fr/119050/article/2017-02-15/la-prefete-fabienne-buccio-quitte-le-pas-de-calais), after a Sudanese deported to Sudan and the risk of deportation to Sudan of an Eritrean, a police operation that combines the hunt for minors, the hunt for solidarity people and the hunt for journalists.
The association Secours Catholique (Catholic Relief) had recently installed showers for the homeless migrants, this being the trigger that raised the hostility of the major of Calais (see here and here). The state is now fighting against the showers: yesterday afternoon, three CRS vans are parked in front of the entrance. At the arrival of the van of Secours Catholique, the police controlled and arrested all the people present, those being seven minors who came to take a shower, Mariam Guerey, an employee of the Secours Catholique, and Haydée Sabéran, a journalist for Libération, who works since long time in Calais.
During the control, the CRS communicate to their superior via radio. The arrest of the minors, the employee of Secours Catholique and the journalist was therefore validated by the hierarchy. All these people were taken to the brigade dealing with the repression of the activities of the “smugglers”, which meant that the charges for the Secours Catholique worker and the journalist were those provided for by Article L 622-1 of the CESEDA (Code of Entry and Residence of Foreigners and the Right of Asylum), which states that “any person who, by direct or indirect assistance, facilitates or attempts to facilitate the entry, illegal movement or residence of a foreigner in France shall be punished by imprisonment for five years and a fine of 30,000 Euro “.
So of course, at arrival at the police station, the tone changed, the possible custody turned into a free hearing, and everyone was released – released for minors, it means not only not having taken a shower, but being on the streets, which is symptomatic of how the police consider the protection of childrens in danger (see here and here).
Nevertheless, the threat is clear, both for people showing solidarity and for journalists, from the moment when a well-known journalist is not around.
The struggle for access to basic hygiene continues, since the mayor of Calais has just published a stoppage of works, which comes late since the showers are already installed and no work is in progress. It will at least make a dispute that gives the impression of doing something, and hinders solidarity.
While Cédric Hérou has just been given a suspended sentence with a € 3,000 fine for helping exiles (http://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2017/02/10/aide-aux-migrants-cedric-herrou-condamne-a-30-000-euros-d-amende-avec-sursis_5077536_1653578.html – see also here, here and here), Amnesty International publishes a report about rights violations on the French side of the French-Italian border.
The various official istitutions concerned have all refused to respond to the association’s requests for information, whose team has been able to witness several violations of the legislation concerning border controls and referrals to Italy, asylum rights and minors rights. It also highlights that the multiple prosecution of solidarity people also violates human rights.
A group of eight Afghans turn round the corner of the boulevard. The oldest might be eighteen years old, the others look fifteen or less, hard to say, the road shapes the body and chisels prematurely the faces.
Among the exiles who arrive in Calais, or who come back after the destruction of the shantytown, minors are lots. The police controls them and doesn’t know exactly what to do with them. Sometimes one ends up at the detention center, to be released by the judge, as every minor is in regular situation on the French territory. Sometimes the police contacts the Children’s Social Assistance, who doesn’t really appreciates and encourages the police to do a facial sorting between “true” and “false” minors, in complete illegality. France Terre d’Asile, charged by the department of the reception of foreigners minors, is often nowhere to be seen, no more places avaiable, not enough people to search for the minors.
In short, it is thanks to the solidarity of the association and the people living in Calais if many minors aren’t sleeping in the streets. But it is impossible to reach everyone when everyone is hiding, and, also, many of them try to cross overnight.
Therefore some are sleeping around the daily center of the Secours Catholique, located at the end of the city – this position out of the centre was required by the municipality to cease its legal guerilla against the opening of a Day Centre for the exiles . And among those who sleep there the majority are minor.
As the land is municipal, the municipality files a complaint against the “squatters”. Act to show that it is not good to be on the streets in Calais, especially when one is minor.
The penal colony for children of Belle-Île, whose revolt in 1934 had inspired the poem of Prévert “La Chasse aux enfants”. A hunt had been organized to catch the children evaded but stranded in the island, with a prize for each child caught.
Evacuation of a camp of Rroma people in the early morning. A local politician, concerned about the situation and in solidarity with the evicted people, arrives by bicycle to see what’s going on. The police block him then bring him to court: his bicycle is apparently, the weapon with which he would have attacked them. The concept of “improvised weapon” is like that of “disturbing public order”; one that allows prosecution of anyone in disregard of the rule that the law should be clear, precise and circumstantial to avoid abuses.
“Jean-Luc Munro, a municipal councilor in Loos, near Lille, is being prosecuted for “assaulting a public official with an improvised weapon”, the weapon being the bicycle with which he went to a shantytown to witness the illegal destruction of caravans by police. “
A support rally was organized today Wednesday at 12:30 pm in Grand Place in Lille during his trial.
«Press invitation: Wednesday 8th February 2017 at 12h30
Grand Place – Lille
If solidarity with foreigners is a crime, then we are all delinquents.
For several months we’ve seen different cases in which solidarity is considered a crime. Trials of people assisting foreigners, threatened with heavy penalties, intimidated, prosecuted, convicted; in Calais, Paris, Norrent-Fontes, Boulogne, Loos, Nice, Perpignan, St- Etienne, in Meaux …
Faced with the inertia of the state, citizen movements are gaining momentum, but the repression of solidarity is also increasing.
More than 350 national and local associations and trade unions have signed a manifesto published on 12th January 2017 (read the manifesto and consult the list of signatory associations).
They organize rallies to stop the offensive on solidarity all over France, and in particular in Lille on February 8th, in Paris on February 9th and in Nice on February 10th.
At the same time, a digital campaign is launched at http://www.delinquantssolidaires.org to show solidarity via social networks.
Rally in Lille – 8th February 2017 – 12h30 – Grand Place
Jean-Luc Munro, a municipal councilor in Loos, near Lille, is being prosecuted for “assaulting a public official with an improvised weapon”, the weapon being the bicycle with which he went to a shantytown to witness the illegal destruction of caravans by the police.
The hearing will take place at the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Lille on Wednesday 8th February at 2pm.
A gathering to support Jean-Luc Munro, on foot or by bicycle, is organized on Wednesday, February 8th at 12:30, on the Grand Place of Lille.
- Representatives of the associations that signed the manifesto (including Guillaume Lardanchet, President of Romeurope) and other “solidarity delinquents” will be present and speak;
- Di Mini Teatro will present the fable of Master Corbak “the policeman, the environmentalist and his bike”;
- The participants can join in solidarity with Jean-Luc Munro;
- And at 1:10 pm there will be an animated march to the Tribunal. “
1936, paid holidays: it is not surprising, considering the history of emancipation, that the current regime considers the bicycle as a weapon.
The proliferation of prosecutions towards people in solidarity with the exiles, especially in name of the article 622-1 of the CESEDA (Code of the Entry and Residence of Foreigners and of the Right of Asylum) which charges up to five years of prison and a fine of € 30,000 for “facilitating or attempting to facilitate the illegal entry, movement or residence of a foreigner in France”, arouses indignation and mobilization.
See for instance the Roya Citizen’s press release just below, the repression being particularly strong at the moment in the Roya valley and on the French-Italian border, or this “Letter to the President: solidarity is not a crime” that invites everyone to question, with our words, the president of the republic using the appropriate form on the site of the Élysée:
A fund has been created to support victims of prosecution because of their solidarity with the exiles, to meet the costs of trials:
« LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT: SOLIDARITY IS NOT A CRIME.
Today, I committed a crime of solidarity. A real, concrete one. Yesterday too. And tomorrow I will do it again. I am not the only one, we are thousands to refuse the policy of the worst, to refuse that a crime against which we fought under the right is used against us by the left.
To refuse not to help our neighbor.
I firmly believe in our motto, “Liberty, Equality and Fraternity”, great and beautiful words which, under your five-year term, became so small.
I refuse this smallness.
So leave in peace, Mr. President, Cédric Herrou, and all the others prosecuted for helping their neighbors.
Or come and arrest me too.
Is it the color of the skin of this neighbor I am helping that doesn’t fit your sense of solidarity?
If along the roadsides between France and Italy there were little blondes with blue eyes dying of cold, hunger and fear, everyone would welcome them, wether them been foreign or not. And you would give orders not to prosecute, wouldn’t you? Perhaps you would even have the courage to change the law, finding it too unjust. Who knows.
So yes, for me, and for a number of us, and we are very numerous, the color of the skin is not an obstacle to humanity and fraternity. Neither religion is.
I send you this message on the box provided for this purpose, on the following link http://www.elysee.fr/ecrire-au-president-de-la-republique/
And I hope that many friends
And friends of friends
And finally a whole bunch of people who I’ve never met but who share my values, that of a fraternal Republic, will share the message with their words and in their name.
Doctor of Law
PS, if those who do this on their behalf leave a little comment under this post it would be great »
Press release from Roya Citizen association
« This Friday, January 6, the same day in which the justice decides to set free Pierre-Alain Manonni for having driven three refugees, four other solidarity citizens are arrested between Breil and Sospel, and held 24 hours in police custody.
Françoise Gogois, René Dahon, Gérard Bonnet, and Dan Oudin, were simply looking to move six young refugees to other places of private accommodation with dignified and secure hosting circumstances.
We would like to remind that the Prosecutor of the Republic, during the trial of Cédric Herrou, accused him, amogs other charges, of “housing refugees in undignified conditions” because they were in tents or caravans. This action was then in line with what the Prosecutor was asking.
We remind also that:
– Roya’s volunteer hosts are overwhelmed by the arrival of dozens of refugees per week;
– return to the border always happens;
– housing facilities for underage are saturated, because they are insufficient and inadequate.
The same Prosecutor also appealed the judicial decision concerning Pierre-Alain, thus denying any indulgence for citizen solidarity.
The hunt based on racial profiling and of solidarity citizens goes on, despite the official release (of Pierre-Alain Manonni).
The latter angered Mr. Estrosi, and made him insult the justice of our country. We remind him that “the insult to the police forces” is rather the fact of those who use these forces in order to track down the refugees, endangering them, when the vocation of police forces is to protect people, regardless of their origin or skin color. The uneasiness of the police forces, and in particular of the gendarmerie, is increasingly evident in front of this policy decided by public authorities who have not seen, heard or understood anything about the refugees and the populations of our valleys. With a small part of the cost of this huge deployment of repressive forces, the few hundreds of refugees wishing to go through our valleys could be decently accommodated.
How much time, how much suffering or even deaths, especially during this cold winter, how many arrests of solidarity citizens will be necessary for the government to take the necessary measures to protect these women, men and children ?
We call once again for the flawless support of all solidarity citizens and their massive presence during the trial of Françoise GOGOIS, René DAHON, Gérard BONNET (known as Gibi), and Dan OUDIN, prosecuted for facilitating the illegal entry or residence of foreigners in France (based on Ceseda Art L 622-1 and L-622-3)
* The original letter and press release in French are here.*
Lying Gazelle, rock carving – Tassili n’Ajjer, southern Algeria (photo Linus Wolf).
Monday, February 29, 2016, the destruction of the southern part of Calais shantytown begins. Three thousand five hundred people will be evicted in just under three weeks and their homes destroyed, unless they have had time to dismantle their huts and take it to the northern part, where most of the people who are evicted will move.
Media are there, but kept away by police, the sub-prefect who tells them what is happening on the other side of the CRS cord. Everything is going well, people will leave only if they are willing, the homes of people who do not want to move are not destroyed.
On the other side of the police cordon, the reality is quite different. Water Cannon, gassing, beatings are used to clear out people who do not want to leave.
Witnesses (see here, here, here and here), exiles and volunteers, publish information, take and send out images. So the police arrest people who fall into its hands. Two volunteers from L’Auberge des Migrants spend thus 48h in custody and receive an OQTF – Obligation to Leave French Territory (one is German, one British). The Administrative Court cancels the OQTF, the Criminal Court discharges them because the folder is empty.
The prefecture appealed against, both volunteers therefore appear before the Douai Appeal Court on Tuesday.
Persons wishing to support them are invited:
Tuesday, September 6 at 14h at the Court of Appeal, 47 rue Merlin de Douai, in Douai
February 29, 2016: beginning of the destruction of the southern part of Calais shantytown. Photo: association Polyvalence http://assopolyvalence.org/une-semaine-a-calais/
Rob Lawrie is one of those British to whom the images of summer 2015 caused an awareness. He came to Calais and has given his energy tirelessly. And then one day he hid a four year old child in his van to make it across the border and help her to rejoin her family in the UK. He had been sued, and his trial had a strong media coverage. The court had issued one of those crab judgments that avoid difficult issues, and had relaxed Rob Lawrie for the charge of smuggling to sentence him to a fine for transporting the child in conditions that contravened of safety rules accordance with the code of the road.
Today, Rob Lawrie has not given up, and he takes advantage of his image to mobilize again for the children of the shantytown. He left Leeds to reach Calais by bike and collect donations.
You can follow his action here:
You can donate here:
Eteocles and Polynices died. Creon, tyrant of Thebes, ordered a funeral for Polynices, but that the body of Eteocles be left unburied, and becomes the prey of dogs. Be punished with death anyone who violates his decision. Antigone, sister of Polynices and Éthéocle, braves the ban to give burial to the latter. The opposition is between the excesses of Creon in the disproportionate and brutal exercise of power and the unconditional loyalty of Antigone to the links that unite to other humans.
When we pay homage to the deads of Nice and Saint-Étienne-du-Rouvray, a tribute to the deads of the British border is prohibited by the prefect of Pas-de-Calais. In the name of the state of emergency, meant to serve in a fight against terrorism, but used with a cynical opportunism by the government to suppress opposition to its policy (see here, here, here, here, here and here). One manifestante was arrested and will go to trial Oct. 18 for her participation in a prohibit gathering (called a “rout”). There are deads to be honored, and the other one must left to dogs, otherwise fall under anti-terrorism legislation. As if all deads are not equal facing the barbarism.
For fifteen years, the solidarity for people whose successive governments intend to make pariahs is a crime, making arrow all usable forms of legislation (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and there).
But yet over the years the solidarity continues obstinately. Making live solidarity that unites us in our neighbors, even though they be passing. But also because these successive governments are attacking what is for us the basis of social bonds.
Hubert Robert –
Imaginary View of the Grand Gallery of the Louvre in ruins – 1796.