Today the court hearing for a squat housing sans papiers, asylum seekers and documented people who are without shelter in Calais is adjourned until 2nd July 2013.
Here is an open letter to the court written and signed by occupants of the building, from Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Albania and from countries across Europe :
If there was a place for new migrants to stay it would give people a better chance for a better future. In Calais there is no-where for migrants to sleep.
If we are kicked out of this house out we have no-where to go. We are without family in Calais and do not have other places to stay.
This house gives us a chance for people from different countries and different cultures to stay in one place together off of the street.
If we are given a chance we want to live together with people in Europe.
All people living in this house have run away from problems in different countries. We did not leave our country for nothing.
And this is the only home we have now.
If you can help us, give us more time, more space and more chance.
The people living here do not have any money, and it is not life here.
No money to rent a house. And we cannot rent anywhere without papers.
This is the only place we can stay.
We live in a little hole right now. We are like mice running from cats. Don’t close this hole.
We thought Europe would be a paradise, but don’t change paradise to hell.
It can be a long day in Calais. There is too much cold outside and inside the house. The weather is difficult and there is no-where to put our head. We sleep on the floor, underground and aboveground.
And inside us we have too much problems.
Here there is water, a toilet but no shower. Before there was electricity but now we use candles at night.
We buy a can of tomatoes for 250g and cook it with pasta or rice to make food for everyone everyday. But it is not enough. There is not coffee or tea or sugar for the people. Only water.
We live our lives in a queue, everywhere. For food, for shower, for toilet, for prefecture, for everything.
France is a big country and has a history that says they know human rights for people from Third World countries. Where are the human rights?
We want people from France to care about us and about our problems and help find a solution for our life and troubles.
And to give us emotions and happiness for our lives.
People can fall into crime if you don’t care about us.
If people do not give a hand to us we will fall deeper into problems.
We are all people. Everyone should have a good life and a chance in life.
Our life is not over but it is not easy. We tried to leave problems and we find more problems. There is no justice.
We need people to open a new gate for a a new family in Europe.”
And the call out for the court :
THE SCANDAL OF EMPTY HOUSES
The UK and French government have been trying to ‘free’ Calais of migrants for years through a strategy of tight surveillance at the border and relentless harassment by the police in town.
In Calais undocumented people, asylum seekers and refugees sleep wherever they can find shelter : in abandoned buildings, under bridges, in parks or the jungles in and around town. Evictions are frequent, leaving people of all ages to sleep rough.
Border and riot police constantly conduct raids and ID controls ; arresting and detaining people, destroying their shelters and vandalising their belongings and blankets.
The city is full of empty houses, and full of people living on the street.
For years the police and the City have been systematically evicting squats illegally, breaking an entry into buildings, evicting people without a home, without authorisation from the owner or a court order.
In February 2013 people open a new home for people with and without papers in Calais. To shelter from police harassment on the streets and the harsh weather of a long winter.
The City try to evict but they can’t get in (see : http://calaismigrantsolidarity.wordpress.com/page/4)
Occupants force the City who own the building, derelict and empty for many years, to get a court order if they want to evict.
It works, and for 5 months – so far – the police have not been allowed to enter.
People take rest there from many countries; Sudan, Chad, Somalia, Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Albania and from countries across Europe. And also people under-age who are left street homeless in Calais.
Tea or a meal is shared. It is a place for exchange : language classes, asylum information, detention support. People cook together, play cards and get to know each other.
But the mayor of Calais builds a case against the occupants : she is determined to make sure empty houses remain empty, and the homeless remain on the street.
And now there is a trial, the Mayor wants to expel.
TRIAL : Tuesday, June 18 at 9am
The court of Calais (Place Crève Coeur)
COME WITH US AND DEMAND :
* The right to a roof for everyone
* The right to requisition unused public buildings
* A housing solution for everyone
* Stop evictions and destruction of squats and people’s means of shelter
* Freedom of movement and settlement for any and all people