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Repression of Migrants Continues as Calais No Border Camp Builds Support (vom 19.06.2009),
URL: http://no-racism.net/article/2988/, besucht am 18.12.2018

[19. Jun 2009]

Repression of Migrants Continues as Calais No Border Camp Builds Support

No Borders press release on the destruction of migrant camps in the region around Calais and Dunkirk.

The No Borders network, which is currently preparing for the start of a No Border Camp in Calais next week, strongly condemns the destruction of migrant camps at Teteghem and Loon beaches in the region around Calais and Dunkirk[1]. The camps were razed to ground by bulldozers on the 17th June leaving around 100 people without shelter. The few possessions that the mostly young people had, such as Korans and a small amount of money, were thrown into the rubbish along with tarpaulins and pallets.

Terres d'Errances, the association of humanitarian groups working to support the migrants in across Northern France, said this action was "In line with the closure of Sangatte and the destruction of previous camps, such a strategy is obviously doomed to failure." Aïssa Zaibet of MRAP in Dunkirk, said a "large proportion of migrants are actually teenagers... The state destroyed, but offers no solution." [2]

The destruction of the camps appears to serve no other purpose than to make the lives of migrants in Northern France even more precarious and will worsen a situation that is already costing lives. The most recent example is that of a young Eritrean who drowned in a canal in Calais on the 13th June after he went there to wash after the meal distribution. Such risks are taken because for the last seven months no shower facilities have been provided for migrants. The decision by the French state to deny basic facilities turns rights such as eating, sleeping and washing into dangerous activities for migrants in Calais.

"We know that cruel acts such as these will not prevent people from coming to seek a better life away from the war and poverty caused by Britain and Europe in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere says Sam Davis, a No Borders activist from the UK. "There is no justification for denying people's basic human rights in this way." It is stories like these that have motivated French and British activists to come together and organise a No Border Camp in Calais, which begins next week on the 23rd June. The camp will be located on the public park located rue Normandie-Niemen, East of Calais and will have a range of workshops and discussions.

The Camp has already caused controversy: the local press have been running scare stories about violent protests and the Calais authorities have announced extremely high levels of policing and the closure of festivities in the town centre. This is despite there being no history of violence during previous No Border Camps and an insistence from participants that their intention is to encourage debate about the effects of border controls on the town and to engage in the local life - not to turn Calais into a ghost town. As one of the organisers explained in an interview with the local press, "We strongly regret that of festivities have been cancelled because of our presence and do not understand this choice from the municipality. We wish to establish a space for dialogue between local people, migrants, and those who are worried about the repressive nature of European immigration policies. We will organise film projections, lectures and workshops as well a transnational demonstration on June 27th. [3]

Ian Bros from No Borders Brighton observed, "The local authorities seem to be determined to create a situation where their predictions of violence becomes more likely simply through their ramping up the levels of police repression," [4] Support for the camp has also been received from local groups in Calais who are working to offer basic services to migrants.

Dr. Teresa Hayter, [5] expressed her support for the project in Calais saying, 'I support (and intend to go to) the Calais No Borders camp. This is because I believe that the suffering imposed on refugees and migrants by the authorities in Europe is unacceptable, cruel and unnecessary, and violates numerous human rights." She went on, "Immigration controls are explicable only by racism; they respond to pressures from racist and far right groups. Those who come to the camp in Calais do so because they oppose the injustice and violence inherent in immigration controls. They are themselves peace-loving and non-violent people."
ENDS

For photos of destruction of camp see http://refugies.over-blog.com/

For programme and details of No Borders camp see http://calaisnoborder.eu.org/node/15

For more information see http://calaisnobordercamp.eu.org

For interviews and comments call: 0044 (07) 807503282
email: calais_press (at) riseup.net




Notes

[1] Destroyed on 17th June see :: nordeclair.fr and :: refugies.over-blog.com (in French)

[2] MRAP stands for Mouvement contre le racisme et pour l'amitié entre les peuples (Movement Against Racism and for Friendship between Peoples), and is an anti-racist French NGO, created in 1949 see :: mrap.fr

[3] Interview with local organisers :: nordlittoral.fr

[4] See :: nobordersbrighton.blogspot.com

[5] Dr. Teresa Hayter (member of Campaign to Close Campsfield and No One Is Illegal; author of Open Borders: The Case Against Immigration Controls).

Press release by No Borders network, see :: calaisnoborder.eu.org