— Initially published on Getting the Voice Out, so some infos are specific to Belgium, but the procedure to follow is valid everywhere. —
Many foreigners in irregular situation are controlled/arrested on public transport, on parking lots, at train stations or at their homes. They are brought to a police station for investigation by the Immigration Office. At the police station, their personal belongings and phones are confiscated, which means that they cannot contact anyone. Within the next 24 hours, they are either released, often with an order to leave the country (OQT – Ordre de Quitter le Territoire), or they are detained in one of the 5 detention centres for migrants (centre fermé – CF).
- What to do…. BEFORE one of your friends is incarcerated:
– If your friend has already received an order to leave the country (OQT) or has a passport, ask their permission and make a copy, scan or take a photo of the order or passport. This will afford you access to the information (name, first name, nationality, date of birth) needed to find your friend.
– If they haven’t received an OQT or they have gotten rid of it, ask them to write down the first and last names, nationality and date of birth that are on record with their fingerprints and/or that they provided when they were caught. These data are essential for you to be able to locate them as soon as possible and to possibly undertake legal action.
In both cases, warn them of the risks of being placed in a detention centre for migrants (CF) if the police catch them and inform them of their rights, if they, unfortunately, get detained: possibility to give a phone call outside (ask them to write down your phone number on a piece of paper or to memorize it and to contact you as soon as possible) and the right to an attorney and to visits.
- If you find out that they have been arrested
– If you know in which police station they are, call or go on site. If there are others in the same police station, contact all your friends and go there together to demand their release. This type of pressure has already led to the release of some detainees.
– In principle, they are entitled to make a phone call if they are being transferred to a detention centre for migrants. If they call you to announce their transfer, try to find out the location and the exact name they have provided to the police and the Immigration Office (Office des Etrangers – OE). This will buy you some time!
Detailed procedure in case of a disappearance:
-In the first 24 hours of a disappearance, be patient: they may be prevented from calling for many various reasons. If you haven’t received any news from your undocumented migrant friend/guest for a substantial amount of time, ask their acquaintances, their friends or other hosts in case they had planned to travel or have been in an accident. They might be stuck somewhere without a phone or with no battery and the best thing to do is to wait for them to get in touch with you. The police can detain them for 24 hours before deciding what to do with them.
– Has it been more than 24 hours? Have you learned that your friend has been detained? Has your friend contacted you but without knowing in which centre they are, …?
- How to locate your missing friend?
Before starting to call detention centres:
Be aware that the primary role of a detention centre (CF) is not to help you or to collaborate with you but to “maintain undocumented migrants at a specified location close to borders so as to facilitate their removal from the country”. Also, the “social worker” provided to your friend represents the Immigration Office in the detention centre and is therefore not necessarily the kind of social worker you might have in mind.
Two possible scenarios:
-In the best case, you will have had time to talk to your friend before their arrest and you have the name they give to the police (whether actual or fictitious), as well as their nationality (whether actual or fictitious).
Call the “Caricole” detention centre at 02 719 71 09 or 02 719 71 10 as they – in theory – centralise the information and – normally – have a list of all the detainees. Ask them if the person that you are looking for is detained in their centre or in another one. They will ask you for your friend’s LAST NAME + first name + nationality. If they don’t find the information, it does not mean that your friend is not in a detention facility. Don’t give up; start calling all the other facilities:
Le Centre pour Illégaux de Bruges (CIB) Tél 050 45 10 40 mail: email@example.com
Le Centre pour Illégaux de Merksplas (CIM) : 014 63 91 10 mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Le Centre pour Illégaux de Vottem (CIV) : 04 228 89 00
Centre 127 bis : Tel 02 759 42 99 —-02 755 00 00
-Second possibility: If you only know his or her alias, send an email to email@example.com where someone might be able to cross-reference that information with other calls made.
When you know that your missing friend is in a detention facility and you know its location, what else can you do?
(do what you can without any obligation: “Everyone does what they can, the way they can, when they can”)
-Get them a mobile phone without a camera (Note: your friend can request to have their SIM card in the detention facility). If not, try to get the phone number of a fellow detainee who is willing to receive your call. Through the private message (PM) groups you can also coordinate with other visitors to get the mobile phone to your friend.
– Visit him or her at the detention facility and/or bring them their belongings if at all possible (see the practical information provided for each detention facility CF). The PM groups have made it possible for hosts, friends and families to coordinate support (car rides, belongings,…) see below.
– Contact gettingthevoiceout (GVO) by email and give them the name of the detained person, their nationality and the name of the facility. GVO will put you in touch with a visitor or, for the guests of the plateforme d’hébergement citoyen with a designated contact person for that facility (“référents centre” (RC)) (see below).
As soon as you are in contact with your detained friend, try to find out what happened and if they want a lawyer.
If they want to be assisted by a lawyer, contact Gettingthevoiceout and provide them with as many details as possible. In some cases, it is urgent to find a lawyer because certain steps must be taken within 10 days, sometimes even within 5 days.
Send the information to firstname.lastname@example.org, never through Facebook or PM (private message)
This is the information the lawyer will need, in order of importance:
Name under which the person is registered in the detention centre (most often their OQT names if they have already received OQT’s)
-Nationality (as recorded by the Immigration Office) and their real identity
-Name of the detention centre: 127 bis, Caricole, Vottem, Bruges, Merksplas?
-Identification number (Immigration Office/IBZ/SP) that should, in principle, have been put on their badges upon their arrival at the centre.
-Date of birth
-Date of arrest
-Place of arrest
-Language of the case / language of their (how to know?)
- Visits to detention facilities
Each centre has their own rules and procedures for visits (see specific information for each facility in annex). Visits also provide an opportunity to ask the detained persons about other guests/friends who are not accounted for.
- Legal aspects
CAUTION: The legislations linked to the topics of migration are extremely complex. Don’t try to take on the role of a specialist or a specialised lawyer and don’t ever rely on the advice provided by the social workers in the detention centre as they first and foremost tend to defend the interests of the Immigration Office and not those of the migrants!
The first question to ask oneself: does your friend want the support of a lawyer? The decision is theirs but should they decide to get a lawyer, it is important that they be willing to listen, trust, follow their advice,and follow the legal proceedings to the end. Much too often, a lawyer is found only to be rejected by your friend for various reasons (fear of the unknown, lack of trust in the lawyer, belief that without lawyers they will be rapidly “dublinated” towards their point of entry…from which they’ll easily be able to return, which is often a false assumption!). Giving up on the proceedings benefits the Immigration Office whose aim is to make the life of the detainee so unbearable that they accept to be deported or agree to return voluntarily.
A specialised lawyer can identify flaws in the proceedings (badly formulated arrests and incarcerations documents, lack of interpreters, requests for asylum introduced by the Immigration Office against the will of the detainees, blind application of the Dublin rules…) and the lawyer can make sure your friend’s rights are respected.
Gettingthevoiceout has a list of competent lawyers to defend the rights of the migrants.
- In case of release or deportation:
Inform email@example.com as quickly as you can on the fate of your friend so as to provide us with a global perspective on these deportations/releases.
- In case of deportation threats
As soon as they arrive at the centre, the migrants can be threatened with deportation to the country of origin by the social worker, without mention of the existing recourses. They should not let themselves be intimidated.
One day though, if the legal proceedings have not reached a positive outcome, they will be given a “ticket” for a trip towards their country of origin or their “Dublin” country. It is then essential to inform the lawyer very quickly as he or she may, in some cases, still be able to introduce a recourse.
At the first deportation attempt, detainees can refuse boarding: they will be brought to the airport and if they refuse to get on the plane, they will be brought back to the detention centre, generally in a calm manner.
At the second deportation attempt (sometimes the third), they will be told they will be escorted and forcefully deported. If they resist, it can become very violent. If the detainee wants support to prevent their deportation, the CRER and Gettingthevoiceout can call upon people to mobilize, go to the airport and talk to the passengers of the flight in question. They’ll explain to the passengers that they have the right to inform the flight captain that they refuse to travel with a man/woman that is being deported by force. They can refuse to sit down as long as the deportee is on the plane.
For more information, please see http://www.gettingthevoiceout.org/how-to-stop-a-deportation/
- For the hosts of the Plateforme hébergement citoyen: Coordination groups via Messenger and Whatsapp
Messenger or Whatsapp groups specific to each detention centre have been created.
They connect together the people/families concerned about the fate of a detainee, who would like to coordinate visits (car pools), drop off packages, get info, help and support one another, …
The Plateforme hébergement citoyen has also appointed contact persons for each detention centre (CF)in order to provide information, facilitate coordination with Gettingthevoiceout and stimulate the MP groups. They are voluntary. They are no legal advisors and they don’t liaise with the lawyers.
In the last few weeks, thousands more people are waking up to the misery caused by the borders. Let’s take this energy and grow it into a movement of solidarity and rebellion against the border system. Let’s tear down the walls.
We believe in solidarity not charity. Charity is an unequal relationship. One person is the active giver, the other is a passive beneficiary. Charity in Calais keeps alive the division between powerful, active, mainly white Europeans with passports, and powerless, passive, African and Asian victims without papers. However well meaning, it helps cement the deep inequalities of this world of states, borders, colonialism and capitalist exploitation.
Solidarity strives to be an equal relationship. We fight alongside each other. As the famous quote says, because “your liberation is bound up with mine”. The borders certainly hit some people much harder than others. But they are an affront to all of us, and one part of a sick system that attacks us all.
The problems in Calais will not be covered by a million blankets. The violence and misery here are a direct result of the border. As long as the French and British states keep on using razorwire fences, cops, batons, tear gas, media hatred, and other weapons to try and stop people crossing, there will be suffering. The only way to address this problem is to rise up against the border.
Action against the border can take many forms. Every person who crosses undermines the border. Every hole in the fences undermines the border. Defending each other against police violence helps undermine the border. Sharing information and ideas helps undermine the border. Challenging racist media propaganda, and spreading our own visions of solidarity and rebellion, helps undermine the border.
The border is not just here in Calais. The borders run across Europe, and not just at the crossing points but wherever there are immigration raids, street stops, detention centres, reporting centres, workplace or landlord ID checks, racist attacks, etc. Many people are asking us: what can we do? Our answer is: fight the border wherever you are. Find out where are the border controls and flashpoints near you. Take action. Help create a culture of solidarity, a world where borders are unacceptable. A world where no one is attacked or blocked because of the colour of their skin, the country they happen to have been born in, or what bits of paper they have in their pocket.
We encourage all individuals and groups to take actions against the border in your own ways. We are also interested in being part of coordinating mass actions and demos against the border with people in the UK and France and across Europe. Do contact us with suggestions. And stay tuned for announcements in the next few days.
Some links and ideas for action in the UK
Some upcoming events in the UK in solidarity with Calais
Article with some more ideas about fighting the border regime
Antiraids Network: resisting immigration raids in London
Unity Centre: solidarity with migrants in Glasgow
SOAS detainee support: London students supporting people in detention
Right to Remain: campaigning for people facing deportation
Movement for Justice: organising with people in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres
It’s been beautiful to see all the messages and acts of support coming in over the last couple of weeks, from the UK and from all over Europe. We are pretty well swamped with emails offering donations of materials or time, so apologies if we don’t get back to you immediately, but please do keep ’em coming.
What we’ve seen in recent weeks is how a crisis, if that’s what it is, brings out both the very worst and the very best in people. Solidarity is our weapon, and it is stronger than their barbed wire and fear.
A lot of the same questions keep coming up when people write to us, so below are a few common answers.
Q: Are you receiving donations of materials for migrants in Calais?
Humanitarian aid will not end this “crisis”. Only getting rid of this vicious border will do that. The situation in Calais is a deeply political one, and we believe the response to this goes further than the provision of blankets. We do not see it as our role to manage donations or be involved in distributions, there are many humanitarian organisations and individuals operating in Calais who can do this. There details are included below.
Q: Are you receiving donations of money?
Yes. You can send money to either our French account (in Euros) or UK account (in Sterling). All the details are on this page. Unfortunately we don’t do paypal.
Q: Can I come and help out for a few days?
We are not able to host or make introductions for new people who are just coming for a short visit. It takes up a lot of time and energy to introduce people to what is a complex situation, and we just don’t have enough to go round. Also, we are cautious, because we know there are lots of good-hearted people who want to do something but we’re also very wary of the danger of the Calais jungle becoming a kind of safari park for poverty tourism.
Of course, we don’t have a monopoly on Calais solidarity, and it is totally up to you if you want to come to the Jungle under your own steam, and organise your own activities and accommodation. There is plenty of room to pitch a tent, and people are generally very welcoming. Assuming, that is, that you’re not shoving a camera into their face or otherwise acting like a prick.
Q: Can I come and volunteer with you for a longer period?
We are not a volunteer organisation. We are interested in hearing from people who want to join our struggle, if you can make a minimum commitment of a week. (Of course, maybe you find once you get here that it’s not for you, in which case that’s fine, it’s the intention that matters.) However, please note: we are not a charity, NGO or aid organisation. We are a political group with a strong position against all borders (see this earlier post), and against other systems of oppression including capitalism, colonialism, racism, male domination, and the state. We want to work with people who share these views. We are looking for comrades rather than volunteers.
If you do not feel close to these ideas, there are other associations who are doing very good humanitarian work in Calais and these might be a better place for you to go. Here are three that we recommend. They are French, but all have English speakers.
L’Auberge des Migrants. A local association who do a lot of good work in the jungle.
Secours Catholique. Catholic charity that provides many services to migrants in Calais.
Medecins du Monde. “Doctors of the World”, who are organising healthcare in the jungle, and also other social services.
Q: Do you want people to come and take photographs in the jungle?
No. We don’t. There are a lot of photographers in the jungle already, and thousands of images out there now, and we don’t see a great need for more. We will not act as an introduction service for photographers and journalists.
The one use of photography we see as very relevant is recording police violence. But this needs to be done with great care and we prefer to work with people we know and trust already for this, or who are introduced to us by trusted people.
If you do come to the jungle with a camera, please be respectful. Don’t photograph people without express consent. And be careful. Maybe you are very respectful, but the majority of the photographers around are not. They repeatedly photograph and film people without bothering to ask permission, and we have seen photographers barging into people’s tents, refusing to delete photos when asked, etc. As a result of this many people are starting to get very pissed off with photographers and journalists around, so you may not get a friendly reception.
Q: Can I interview you or help you get press coverage?
Unlikely. We rarely give interviews to the UK media. We may consider a particular proposal if you send us a detailed email explaining what your project is. We will definitely not talk to the Mail, Telegraph, Express or Murdoch owned press. In general, we prefer to express ourselves directly in our own words, such as through this website. Please feel free to quote anything you like from here.
Q: Can I do something where I am?
Yes, absolutely. For instance, we are glad to hear from people who want to organise info evenings, film showings, stalls, fundraisers, solidarity actions, etc., to spread the word about what is going on.
But maybe even more importantly, we encourage you to fight against the border regime where you are.
The border is not just here in Calais. If you are in the UK, not far from you migrants who have arrived from Calais and other places are being imprisoned indefinitely in detention centres, including the prison for families with children run by G4S and Barnardos. Or attacked by Home Office “enforcement” bullies in dawn raids at home, at work or in street checks. Or made destitute under the vicious law that refuses asylum claimants even the right to work. Or threatened with homelessness by a new law against “illegal” immigrants renting houses.
Here are just a few links to groups we know of in the UK, or search for others near you. Or take action yourself in your own way.
Antiraids Network: resisting immigration raids in London
Unity Centre: solidarity with migrants in Glasgow
SOAS detainee support: London students supporting people in detention
Right to Remain: campaigning for people facing deportation
Movement for Justice: organising with people in Yarl’s Wood and other detention centres
Hunger strikes and occupations have been happening in 7 of UK’s detention centres for a week now. Hundreds of people have been refusing food and protesting in the centres.
People are speaking out about the situation through the blog below
People are now asking for actions of solidarity from outside the UK- at Embassies, detention centres etc. Protests at UK Embassies, especially if shown in non-UK media would make it harder for the UK news embargo to continue, and put increasing pressure. Massive solidarity and support to those demonstrating at the moment. Tear down the fences, tear down the walls!
THERE IS NO FREEDOM UNTIL THERE IS FREEDOM FOR ALL!
*francais en bas
On the 15th of January, the Jules Ferry Centre, a new day centre for Calais was partially opened for the first time. When it is finished, around the beginning of April, the day centre will allegedly provide showers, one meal a day, places to charge phones and a women’s and children’s sleeping place with room for 100 people.
For some people this will be seen as a positive step for the situation in Calais. After all, the State is finally providing something for the migrant population of Calais and showing some form of humanitarian responsibility. But we need to be careful to put this new centre in context. It has not come about because of a compassionate change of heart by the government. It comes as part of a new security agenda agreed with the UK to strengthen the border and prevent people from crossing. The day centre is part of the same strategy that saw the UK and France put €15million into extra funding for police, increasing the level of violence and intimidation against migrants, and the new security fence. The intention is to make crossing the border near impossible at the same time as making life for migrants in Calais minutely managed and controlled or else unbearable. The new day centre is there to deal with the nightmarish fall out from this policy and to provide a humanitarian balm for the racist wounds inflicted by the border. But it is important not to forget that it is first and foremost part of a repressive package designed to monitor, control, and expel the migrant population.
The new centre is not about protection but about policing, not about refugee support but about racial segregation. Located 6km from central Calais, all services provided by associations around the town will now be confined to this remote location. For those living on the other side of Calais, in Galloo or the camp of “leader-price”, the centre is practically beyond reach. Whilst the mayor has indicated that camps will be tolerated in the barren expanse surrounding the centre (dotted with WW II bunkers, the occasional hunter and wet lands) they will be forcefully demolished elsewhere in Calais, and all squats are to be evicted. Bouchart (the mayor) has also declared the provision of food to migrants anywhere outside this centre to be illegal. People are saying that the authorities will start with a ‘soft eviction’ approach by encouraging people to relocate with the promise of services and safety from police harassment. But forcing people to relocate through the use of starvation and threats of police violence for noncompliance seems anything but soft.
What we are witnessing is the creation of a racial ghetto under the guise of liberal humanitarian concern. But the logic of segregation at play is clear : you will be free and safe from persecution, provided with basic amenities and some legal advice, so long as you remain in the ghetto. If you stray from this open prison, if you follow your own goals, you will be hounded by police and persecuted by the authorities. Even if we accept that the provision of aid offered by the centre is a good thing, it still reinforces the idea that migrants cannot be helped here, do not belong here, that they must be kept at a distance and ‘dealt with’. Out of sight out of mind. Everyone in ‘their own’ place. The stench of racism is nauseating.
To us this strategy is not only a cynical response to the cries of local racists but also a clear attempt to cut the links and ties with the people of Calais which have developed over the years and further isolate the migrant communities. Since the closure of Sangatte in 2001, life in Calais for those without papers has been a constant struggle to carve out a space for themselves, trying to find warm, dry, and safe places to sleep, being able to stay in public without fear of police harassment and building increasing relationships and community with locals from Calais. The last few years have seen some progress, especially in terms of public involvement in Victor Hugo and the opening of Galloo, and connections have been made which continue to grow and strengthen, with more local contact with the jungles than ever before. Along with sustained efforts over the years to capture and raise awareness of police violence, these connections across communities have frustrated the State’s ability to police with impunity and offered a challenge to the repressive policies of the authorities. The new day centre will disrupt these connections by limiting (or perhaps preventing entirely) access to the site for non-migrants. By severing the ties we have developed over the years the authorities hope to stop the the seeds of solidarity and struggle from taking root, from growing and become stronger.
The setting up of Jules Ferry has happened without any consultation with the migrant populations, without asking what support they need and how they would like to see it provided. Involvement of local associations has been minimal from the beginning and other plans in the works for cooperation, e.g. the ‘migrant housing project’, have been forgotten. Instead the State is bringing in an external association, La Vie Active, with no experience of the practicalities or the politics of Calais or the different communities and issues present here to manage the centre. The intention is clear : a new association can more easily be the puppet of the State and its interests as it will not have the expertise or the local connections to be able to make and effective challenge.
Breaking up cross-community cooperation, ending existing work, and destroying all the jungles and squats, this new day centre is an attempt to completely alter the playing field, to change the practical situation in such a way that neutralises all effective challenge from migrants and local communities and puts the State firmly in control. Having redrawn the map they can position themselves as the primary driver of any future developments in Calais.
Whilst some people are considering relocating voluntarily to camp near the centre, the majority of migrants are refusing to move. Many of the jungles have been developed extensively over the last half a year, and whilst conditions are still harsh people have been able to carve out an autonomous space and make something approaching a home for themselves. At least here there is some amount of freedom, for example, to come and go as and when, to permit or refuse entry to others, to walk into town etc. Out by the day centre the police can easily control access down the one long narrow track. And out there, away from the prying eyes of the public, they would be free to carry out their attacks with even more enthusiasm. Miles from the nearest shop, everyone will be forced even further into a dependence on charity and on the day centre itself for their survival.
The day centre is an attempt to shackle people to an isolated wilderness outside Calais to frustrate their efforts to cross to the UK and to keep them tied up in one place, ready for any mass round ups and deportations required by changes in the political agenda. Jules Ferry will be an open prison and the provision of aid will be the chains that bind people to it.
What is needed is not charity but solidarity. Migrant communities are more than capable of organising and looking after themselves, they are just prevented from accessing many of the basic things of life by the racism of European citizenship and the violence of the UK border. To stand beside people and support them as much or as little as they need in their efforts to cross the border, or whatever their plans might be, is what is needed not a day centre designed to control. We should support those who want to resist evictions and forced relocation and continue to struggle for autonomous life beyond the control of the State .
Ultimately what is needed is political change. Calais is just one location of the racist European project and its control of migration, whilst people all over the world will continue to move. No matter how hostile the conditions in Calais, no matter how high they build that fence, no matter what remote and desolate location people are forced to live on, the reasons driving people to move around the world are more powerful. Sooner or later something must give. People should not be seen as a problem. The problem is how others respond to their presence. The rise of racist and nationalist ideologies throughout Europe is not a separate issue to those we face in Calais, and our solidarity must also involve a struggle against fascism. The State is able to get away with its systematic repression of migrants in Calais and elsewhere because of the implicit support they receive from a hateful and frustrated electorate who more and more are leaning towards fascism.
Many people have said they will not go to the centre, and the many more who will arrive in the future are unlikely to allow themselves to simply be herded so far out. The police repression will undoubtedly increase around town as well as around the parkings and traffic jams, and any attempt to create an autonomous space to live is likely to be met with abuse and intimidation from the authorities. We will continue to stand in solidarity with migrants in Calais and to resist the violence of the state, the police, and the racist border regime. But we must do more than react. With the new day centre the authorities have taken the initiative and will try to gain the advantage. Now is a time for creativity and new ideas in the fight against the border.
Le 15 Janvier, le Centre Jules Ferry, un nouveau centre de jour pour Calais a été partiellement ouvert pour la première fois. Quand il sera fini, vers le début d’Avril, le centre de jour fournira prétendument des douches, un repas par jour, des lieux pour recharger les téléphones et un lieu de couchage pour les femmes et les enfants pour une capacité de 100 personnes.
Pour certaines personnes, cela est considéré comme une étape positive pour la situation à Calais. Après tout, l’État à finalement fournit quelque chose pour la population migrante de Calais et montre ainsi une certaine forme de responsabilité humanitaire. Mais nous devons être prudents-es et bien contextualiser l’arrivée de ce nouveau centre. Car il n ‘arrive pas grace à un élan compassionnel de la part du gouvernement. Il est livré dans le cadre d’un nouveau programme de sécurité convenu avec le Royaume-Uni pour renforcer la frontière et ainsi rendre le passage vers le Royaume-Uni plus difficile. Le centre de jour fait partie de la même stratégie qui a vu le Royaume-Uni et la France mettre 15 millions € en financement supplémentaire pour la police, augmentant ainsi le niveau de violence et d’intimidation (venant de la police) contre les migrants-es, et la nouvelle barrière de sécurité. L’intention est de rendre la traversée de la frontière presque impossible, et en même temps de rendre la vie des migrants-es à Calais minutieusement gérée et contrôlée, ou bien insupportable. Le nouveau centre de jour est là pour faire face à l’échec cauchemardesque de cette politique et fournir un baume humanitaire pour les blessures racistes infligées par la frontière. Mais il est important de ne pas oublier que ce centre est d’abord et avant tout partie prenante d’un ensemble répressif conçu pour surveiller, contrôler et expulser la population migrante.
Le nouveau centre n’est pas axé sur la protection mais le maintien de l’ordre, non sur l’aide aux réfugiés-es, mais la ségrégation raciale. Situé à 6 km du centre de Calais, tous les services fournis par des associations dans ou à proximité de la ville devront maintenant se limiter à cet endroit reculé. Pour celles et ceux qui vivent de l’autre côté de Calais, au camp de « leader price » ou au squat Galloo, le centre est pratiquement hors de portée. Alors que la mairesse, a indiqué que les camps seront tolérés dans l’étendue désertique entourant le centre (parsemée de bunkers de la seconde guerre mondiale, de chasseurs occasionnels et autres marécages), ils seront démolis de force ailleurs dans Calais, et tous les squats seront expulsés. Bouchart (la mairesse) a également déclaré que la fourniture de nourriture aux migrants-es n’importe où en dehors de ce centre sera désormais illégale. Les gens disent que les autorités commenceront avec une approche «d’expulsion en douceur», encourageant les gens à déménager avec la promesse de services et de sécurité contre le harcèlement de la police. Mais forcer les gens à déménager par l’utilisation de la famine et de menaces de violence policières semble tout sauf «doux».
Ce que nous voyons ici est la création d’un ghetto racial sous couvert d’un souci humanitario- libérale. Mais la logique de ségrégation en jeu est clair: vous serez libre et à l’abri de la persécution, muni d’équipements de base et des conseils juridiques, tant que vous restez dans le ghetto. Si vous vous écartez de cette prison à ciel ouvert, si vous suivez vos propres objectifs, vous serez traqués par la police et persécutés par les autorités. Même si nous acceptons que fournir une aide offerte par le centre soit une bonne chose, cela renforce encore l’idée que les migrants ne peuvent pas être aidés ici, ils et elles n’appartiennent pas a ici, qu’ils et elles doivent être maintenues à distance et «faire avec». Loin des yeux, loin du cœur. Tout le monde dans «sa propre » case. La puanteur du racisme est nauséabonde.
Pour nous cette stratégie n’est pas seulement une réponse cynique aux pleurs des racistes locaux mais aussi une tentative évidente de couper les liens et les rapports avec les gens de Calais qui se sont développés au fil des ans et d’isoler d´avantage les communautés de migrants-es. Depuis la fermeture de Sangatte en 2001, la vie à Calais pour les sans-papiers a été une lutte constante pour se faire une place, trouver des endroits chauds, secs et sûrs pour dormir, être capable de rester en public sans crainte de harcèlement de la police. Cela tout en renforçant de plus en plus les relations avec la communauté et les habitants de Calais. Nous avons vu quelques progrès ces dernières années, notamment en termes de participation publique avec le squat pour les familles a Victor Hugo et l’ouverture de Galloo, et les liens qui ont été crées continuent de grandir et se renforcer, en contact constant avec les camps plus fort que jamais. Grâce aux efforts soutenus au fil des ans afin d’informer et de sensibiliser la population sur les violence policières, ces connexions entre les communautés ont frustré l’État et ont nui à leur capacité de fliquer en toute impunité, et elles représentent un défi pour les autorités et politiques répressives. Le nouveau centre de jour va perturber ces connexions et liens intimes, cela en limitant (ou peut-être interdisant complètement) l’accès au site aux non-migrant-es. En brisant les liens que nous avons développés au fil des années, les autorités espèrent ainsi pourrir les graines de solidarité et de lutte qui prennent racines, poussent et ne cessent de croître et devenir plus en plus fort.
La mise en place du lieu Jules Ferry est arrivée sans aucune consultation avec les populations migrantes, sans leur demander quels soutiens ils ont besoin et comment ils aimeraient les voir se concrétiser. La participation des associations locales a été minime par rapport aux plans du début, idem pour d’autres œuvres de coopération, par exemple le projet de « maisons des migrants-es», qui ont été oubliés. Au lieu de cela l’État apporte à une association externe, La Vie active, n’ayant aucune expérience des pratiques ou politiques de Calais ou connaissance des différentes communautés et tous les problèmes ou questions que cela pose pour gérer un tel centre. L’intention est claire: une nouvelle association peut plus facilement être la marionnette de l’Etat et de ses intérêts car il n’ aura pas l’expertise ou les connexions locales pour être en mesure d’en faire un défi efficace.
Briser la coopération inter-communautaire, mettant un terme au travail existant et projets en cours, et en détruisant toutes les jungles et squats, ce nouveau centre de jour est une tentative de modifier complètement les règles du jeu, de changer la situation concrète de manière qui neutralise tous les défis effectifs entre migrants-es et communautés locales permettant ainsi à l’État d’asseoir son contrôle. Ayant redessiné les cartes, l’Etat pourra ainsi se positionner comme le principal moteur des développements futurs à Calais.
Alors que certaines personnes envisagent de déménager volontairement au camp près du centre, la majorité des migrants-es refusent de bouger. Beaucoup des jungles ont été largement développées au cours de la dernière moitié de l’année 2014, et tandis que les conditions sont encore difficiles des gens ont pu se tailler un espace autonome et construire quelque chose s’approchant d’une maison pour eux-elles mêmes. Au moins ici, il y a une certaine quantité de liberté, par exemple, d’aller et venir comme et quand les personnes le souhaitent, pour autoriser ou refuser l’entrée à d’autres, marcher en ville, etc. Au centre de jour, la police peut facilement contrôler l’accès au long et étroit chemin d’accès. Et là-bas, loin des regards indiscrets du public, la police sera libre de mener leurs attaques avec encore plus d’enthousiasme. A des kilomètres de la boutique la plus proche, tout le monde sera forcé à une plus grande dépendance à la charité et au centre de jour lui-même pour leur propre survie.
Le centre de jour est une tentative d’isoler les gens dans un désert isolé en dehors de Calais et ainsi entraver leurs efforts pour traverser au Royaume-Uni, et de les garder groupés en un seul endroit, prêtes ainsi à toutes opérations de masse et possibles déportations au grès des changements d’agendas politiques. Jules Ferry sera une prison à ciel ouvert et l’aide fournie sera un maillon des chaînes qui lient les gens à lui.
Au lieu de cela:
Ce qui est nécessaire n’est pas la charité, mais la solidarité. Les communautés de migrants-es sont plus que capables de s’organiser et de s’occuper d’eux et d’elles-mêmes, ils-elles sont juste empêchés d’accéder à la plupart des choses de base de la vie par le racisme de la citoyenneté européenne et la violence de la frontière avec le Royaume-Uni. Ce dont nous avons besoin c´est de se tenir à côté des gens et de les soutenir autant ou aussi peu que dont ils ont besoin dans leurs efforts pour franchir la frontière ou pour réaliser leurs projets quels qu´ils soient ; pas d´un centre de jour destiné à contrôler. Nous devons soutenir ceux qui veulent résister à des expulsions et déplacements forcés et continuent à lutter pour la vie autonome au-delà du contrôle de l’Etat.
En fin de compte ce qui est nécessaire est un changement politique. Calais est juste un des lieux du projet européen raciste et son contrôle de la migration, tandis que les gens du monde entier continueront à se déplacer. Peu importe comment les conditions hostiles à Calais, peu importe à quelle hauteur ils construisent cette clôture, peu importe dans quels emplacement éloignées et désolés les gens sont forcés de vivre, les raisons qui poussent des personnes à se déplacer à travers le monde sont plus puissantes. Tôt ou tard, quelque chose doit donner. Les gens ne devraient pas être considérés comme un problème. Le problème est de savoir comment les autres réagissent à leur présence. La montée des idéologies racistes et nationalistes dans toute l’Europe n´est pas une question distincte de ce que nous rencontrons à Calais, et notre solidarité doit également impliquer une lutte contre le fascisme. L’État est en mesure de s´en tirer avec sa répression systématique des migrants à Calais et ailleurs grace à l’appui implicite qu’ils reçoivent de l’électorat haineux et frustré qui de plus en plus se penche vers le fascisme.
Beaucoup de gens ont dit qu’ils n´iront pas au centre, et de nombreux autres qui arriveront à l’avenir ne vont certainement pas de se laisser tout simplement être parqués si loin. La répression policière va sans aucun doute augmenter autour de la ville ainsi que dans les parkings et les embouteillages, et toute tentative de créer un espace autonome de vie est susceptible de rencontrer abus et intimidation de la part des autorités. Nous continuerons à être solidaires avec les migrants à Calais et à résister à la violence de l’État, la police, et le régime de la frontière raciste. Mais nous devons faire plus que de réagir. Avec le nouveau centre de jour, les autorités ont pris l’initiative et vont essayer de prendre l’avantage. Maintenant, il faut de la créativité et de nouvelles idées dans la lutte contre la frontière.
Solidarity! The situation of the people in Calais might be difficult for us Europeans with papers to understand, but the inhumanity of the government can be felt, however far or not we may be. The government can never take away the strength of our hearts and our friendship. Today, we hope these banners will reach your hearts, too. We hope that our gathering around a banner in this small corner of the Alps can be the beginning of something that never lets any government decide anything in our place again and which makes us recognize each other as human beings and recognize your demands as the same as our own.
No woman or man is illegal!!!
DOWN WITH THE BORDERS! WE’RE THINKING OF YOU!
Solidarity, from the Vallée de la Méouge to Calais!