A few translations from the blog Passeaurs d’hospitalités that were posted earlier on this week. Thanks to DS for the translations, and of course Passeurs d’hospitalités for the original text. For French readers here is a link to the blog page: https://passeursdhospitalites.wordpress.com/
No to the France of camps! From the end of March 2015, a population living in the Calais area, referred to as “the migrants”, has been concentrated in an area some distance from the town; the biggest slum in France. Calais, French town on the British border, lives with and also apart from this, its township.
Next a container camp has been constructed, destroying a part of the slum. It’s surrounded by a fence, access is controlled by guards, the people who live there, 12 in a 15m2 area, are stripped of all autonomy, without being able to wash, to cook, to make a tea or coffee.
Today, the people who live in the camp can come and go, under the control of guards and a biometric system of identification. But it will take just a simple legislative modification to create a new category of an area of containment of foreigners, next to the detention centres which already exist.
Today, the authorities announced the destruction of the slum. Its inhabitants will not disappear for this, they will have to be chased out by the violence of Calais. These people have the choice between the camp and a man hunt. This is what has happened in Calais since the closure of the Sangatte centre, but with policing that has increased significantly over these past two years.
The question concerns everyone. Would you like to live in a country where next to and apart from a town, or maybe tomorrow next to and apart from our towns, are confined people who are proclaimed to be undesirable?
A remarkable show of solidarity has been shown towards the exiles of Calais. From everywhere in France and elsewhere, donations have come: blankets, tents, clothes, food.
Today, it’s not blankets that we need, it’s the support that we need so that the exiles, migrants, refugees of Calais can live free.
Today we need, wherever you are, for you to call out to the French authorities, prefectures, sous-prefectures, members of parliament, ambassadors, for the camp of Calais to be closed and replaced by a real welcome centre. And that you don’t leave them alone until they have renounced enclosing, for finally welcoming.
Call for mobilisation in support of the secular school of Chemin des Dunes.
The prefect of Pas-de-Calais has announced that half of the slum will be flattened in about a week. After the preceeding partial destruction of a stretch of land theoretically 100m wide (in actuality more in parts) along the port ring road and the route des Gravelines, the prefect promised that the school, the mosque and the church would be spared. This was not to be; the church and the mosque were destroyed, the school is right at the edge of the new no man’s land, in the first line of the new evictions which have just been announced.
The people which brought the school to life have made a call out to mobilise to save it, and for the exiles to be allowed dignity.
Partial destruction of the slum: three precedents.
The Prefecture of Pas-De-Calais has just announced the destruction of the South half of the slum. For the last year, the authorities have concentrated the Exiles in Calais in this place, promising that they will be “tolerated” in this area, but already three partial destructions have taken place.
The first was on the 21st of September of last year, without any legal formalities. In the morning, two camps which remained in the town centre were evicted. The people who had been evicted were “accompanied” to the slum by police. The part of the slum which was under the ring-road which leads to the port and to the west was then evacuated and flattened by bulldozers. In the afternoon, the last two camps in the centre of Calais were also evacuated.
In mid-November, a part of the slum was evicted to make way for the container camp. Civil Protection brought in tents for 500 people, which sheltered the people who had been evicted. La Vie Active, which runs the Jules Ferry centre and now the container camp, along with other associations, tried to convince people to move.
On the 8th of January, the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais announced that an 100-metres-long band along the port ring-road and the Route de Gravelines would become a no man’s land, and therefore announced the eviction of the residents and the destruction of the dwellings. Most of the inhabitants chose to “move house”, with the help of the associations. Others refused to leave.
On the 19th of January, the prefect took out an expulsion order in the name of the state of emergency (which doesn’t say anything about evictions and destruction of dwellings). The no man’s land created in this way will be wider than 100 metres for at least some of its length.
What has just been announced is a small eviction from Monday, like a test run, under the pretext of creating a second access road to the container camp, followed by the destruction of the whole southern half of the slum. Followed in its turn by the other half.