[ 03. Jan 2008 ]

France: Revolt in foreigners camps

In France, in 2 "centres de rétention" (one of the types of detention centers for migrants, where they are before deportation) in Paris region, a strong protest movement has been going since Dec 20, 2007. Migrants went on hunnger strike to try to alert the opinion on detention, which theyj characterize as "shameful and arbitrary".


Some of them have written a "cahier de doléances" (see below; the term refer to lists of claims and complaints before the French Revolution) where they point lack of hygiene, their feeling to be "ttreated like cattle", "humiliating searches" etc... this document has been sent to, among others, the consulates of their home countries.

It is the first time that a movement of this kind finds such an echo in France: it is in the news of the major medias (newspapers, radio, TV). Take for example this extract of Dec 31 news on the channel with the greatest audience ::

A demonstration in support to detained foreigners took place :: on Dec 31, 2007. Two others are announced in :: Paris on Jan 3 and 5, 2008.

Associations calling for these demonstrations also call for a mobilization against the European "return directive" for foreigners in irreguar situation, which plans for up to 18-months detention. A petition against this "directive de la honte" has been launched at the beginning of Nov 2007, and has already gathered more than 20,000 signatures, see ::

« Against humiliating acts »

Here are the main extracts of the letter sent by the foreigners detained in the Mesnil-Amelot (Seine-et-Marne) "centre de rétention" to the consuls of their home countries.

« Madam, Sir, (...) We are all detained for lack of legal papers, which we do not deny. But (...) we would like to make you realize that most of the people who will be repatriated with your collaboration are in charge of families, work, pay taxes, while financially helping the members of their families both in this country and in their home country. We are sad to see that some passes are easily granted, without taking into account the detainee situation, and his opinion, all this leading to a brutal separation of the families, with desastrous consequences (...).

We really trust you against the unjust and humiliating acts of the French administration, which scorns human rights.

This is why, all nationalities taken into account, we have decided to communicate to you our complaints. »

see the websites
of the 9th sans papiers collective ::
of RESF (Education without borders Network) ::
and ::