5,000 from Calais camp housed in centres across France

Migration – United Kingdom/dismantling of the “Calais Jungle” – Statements by M. François Hollande, President of the Republic, at the Doué-La-Fontaine reception and guidance centre (excerpts)

Doué-La-Fontaine, 29 October 2016

THE PRESIDENT – Ladies and gentlemen, the Housing Minister and I have just visited a reception and guidance centre at Doué-La-Fontaine – a commune in Maine-et-Loire – which has taken in 38 migrants who were in Calais. They came here so that the camp, which was unworthy of what France can offer in terms of hospitality, could be evacuated and so that they could come here to a facility which will allow them to regain their strength and, above all, begin administrative procedures in order potentially to enjoy the right of asylum. (…)

But it’s very important that, in the space of a few days, we’ve been able to evacuate 5,000 people from Calais and receive them at all the places scheduled – 450 reception and guidance centres –, and this [figure] could even reach 9,000; I want to congratulate all the state services, all the voluntary organizations and of course the local authorities on this.

We still have 1,500 unaccompanied minors in Calais; they will very soon be transported to other centres. Yesterday I spoke to the British Prime Minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve also spoke to his counterpart, the United Kingdom Home Secretary, to ensure that the British accompany these minors to these centres and subsequently play their part in receiving them in the United Kingdom. So we’re very soon going to be able to evacuate the whole of what was called the Calais camp.

I think we’ve been doing this [evacuating the camp] under the best conditions, for the departure [of migrants from Calais] and the arrival [of them at reception and guidance centres]. I paid tribute to all the efforts made to ensure the transport and evacuation, but how could I not also express my gratitude to the communes, to the voluntary organizations which enabled the migrants and refugees to be taken in by the reception and guidance centres? France projected the best possible image, because given this time of difficulty for the refugees, we had to be equal to the task: we could no longer tolerate camps and we won’t tolerate them. There are some in Paris too, and we’ll have to evacuate them. Actually, the policy I put in place with the government was aimed at creating these reception and guidance centres to allow the camps to be evacuated and then direct these young men, young women, families and sometimes children towards places where they can be helped to find their feet and then steered towards the procedures they require.

France also has a responsibility to Europe: namely to ensure the control of external borders, because we can’t let migrants come who don’t have any rights to exercise. On the other hand, we must take in refugees who are victims of persecution in their countries, and we know them: Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans, Sudanese people. That’s part of our duty, and we must do it under conditions that are entirely worthy of France. I’ve welcomed the efforts of the ministers, government departments and services. And how could we not mention the voluntary organizations too? Here, in this centre, voluntary organizations are going to be able to work with the refugees, to teach them the French language, support them in the steps they take and enable them to gain access to the right of asylum.

That’s what France is: a country which is firm about the rules, which understands that Europe controls its borders, but a country which copes as decently and humanely as possible with the reception conditions for refugees. And while there have been attempts – very few, incidentally – to question this policy, to try and create doubt among the population, I think those attempts have failed to resonate, because – I see it again here – the people understand what we’re doing, and I really want to thank them. The people who are going to stay here will stay for barely three months and then be directed towards other places, which are those generally devoted to asylum seekers. The French people have understood perfectly what we’re doing, and there have been no incidents either on departure or on arrival. That’s what a country’s responsibility is when faced with a difficult situation: to show firmness, humanity and responsibility. Thank you.

Q. – Isn’t the situation in Calais just shifting the problem, when you see what’s happening in Paris among other places?

THE PRESIDENT – Well, it wasn’t those from Calais who went to Paris – there were a few. However, there’s been a new migration flow from Libya in recent weeks, recent months, and they’ve headed towards Paris. We’re working to evacuate the Paris camps, because this can’t be a sustainable situation. You can’t leave people destitute, you can’t let local people suffer inconvenience. We can’t tolerate this, so we’re going to conduct the same operation as for Calais but under different conditions, because those people haven’t been there long and we’re going to host them in reception and guidance centres if they’re eligible for asylum. I’ve been perfectly clear: people eligible for asylum go to the reception and guidance centres; those who are not are deported.

Q. – Does this transportation today have any symbolic significance?

THE PRESIDENT – Yes, the symbol is that there are values in France which people must always be reminded of. Those values are solidarity, fraternity, humanity. They were flouted, they were violated in Montreuil-Bellay and the [other] camps which were opened during the Second World War – but not closed until a year after the Second World War – and where people known as nomads, Roma, were interned under intolerable conditions. It was very important for the Republic to be able to say that, from this point of view, it had to remember its own responsibility. But at the same time, I’ve emphasized that in Montreuil-Bellay and all those camps, in the villages which experienced those situations, there was a lot of humanity, there was a lot of solidarity. On the Roma camps during the Second World War, which were kept until a year afterwards, they were French citizens, and it was very important for me to be able to say that we’re all French people and that we have the same rights and duties. Regarding travellers, they must of course behave as citizens in the Republic, but they are citizens in the Republic, and that was the message I wanted to get across. (…)./.

Migration – United Kingdom/dismantling of the “Calais Jungle” – Joint communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Homes

Paris, 26 October 2016

M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, and Mme Emmanuelle Cosse, Minister of Housing and Sustainable Homes, say that another 1,348 people have been given shelter today: 1,215 adults left the Calais camp on board 32 coaches bound for the reception and guidance centres (CAOs) spread over 11 regions, and 133 minors were directed to the temporary reception centre (CAP) or a CAO specifically dedicated to receiving them, pending the processing of their cases.

In total, 234 minors have also been sent to Britain since Monday 17 October. So 5,596 people have been given shelter since the dismantling operation began.

The reception and guidance system in the Calais camp remains open this evening, and everyone who turns up there will continue to benefit from shelter at a CAO.

Work to clear the camp was stepped up today and will continue over the coming days.

Bernard Cazeneuve and Emmanuelle Cosse praise the work of the firefighters who had to tackle numerous fires today. They renew their thanks to all the state’s staff and operators and the voluntary organizations committed to this essential humanitarian operation./.

Migration – United Kingdom/dismantling of the Calais “Jungle” – Joint communiqué issued by the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Housing and Sustainable Homes

Paris, 25 October 2016

M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior, and Mme Emmanuelle Cosse, Minister of Housing and Sustainable Homes, say that another 1,636 people have been given shelter today: 1,264 adults left the Calais camp on board 33 buses bound for 55 reception and guidance centres (CAOs) spread over nine regions, and 372 minors were directed to the temporary reception centre (CAP) pending the processing of their cases.

So a total of 4,014 people have already been given shelter since the dismantling operation began.

CAOs have therefore received 3,242 adults and 772 minors have gone to the CAP, so nearly 1,000 unaccompanied minors are now safe. Moreover, 217 minors in Calais whose family ties to Britain have been established have reached the United Kingdom since 17 October. Since the Amiens agreement signed in March 2016, 300 unaccompanied minors have therefore been taken in across the Channel. Cooperation is continuing so that a response tailored to each case is found.

Bernard Cazeneuve and Emmanuelle Cosse renew their thanks to all the state’s staff and operators and the voluntary organizations committed to this essential humanitarian operation./.

Migration – United Kingdom/dismantling of the “Calais Jungle” – Statement by M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Minister of the Interior

Paris, 24 October 2016

(Check against delivery)

Ladies and gentlemen,

On the evening of the first day of the Calais camp’s dismantling, and after I’ve just left a meeting of the coordination and monitoring unit set up right here at the Interior Ministry, Emmanuelle Cosse and I would like to give you an update on the situation and reiterate the principles guiding the government’s action in this operation, in which we’re all playing an active role.

This evening 2,318 migrants have been provided with shelter: 1,918 adults have left Calais on board 45 buses to go to 80 reception and guidance centres [CAOs] situated in 11 regions of France, and 400 minors have received guidance and have also been given shelter at the temporary reception centre [CAP] pending examination of their cases, joining the 200 who were already there. Six hundred unaccompanied minors are now safe at the CAP. So an initial step has been taken today; it went ahead in a calm and controlled manner, and we must of course continue.

I’m giving this information, and we’ll continue to give it in the coming days, because we’re conducting this operation openly, with a desire for transparency.

Not only under the gaze of the press, which is natural, but also in the presence of the voluntary organizations that are working on the ground, representatives of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and representatives of the Ombudsman, the Controller-General for Places of Deprivation of Liberty and many organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. It’s natural that French people should know exactly what we’re doing: what the government is doing in Calais – which is going to last as many days as necessary – is quite simply its duty as a country committed to the right of asylum.

This is, first of all, its humanitarian duty. We’d like to shelter all the people who were still in the camp today, the vast majority of whom have fled war and persecution.

The conditions in which they were living in the camp were humiliating and couldn’t continue. That’s why, a whole year ago now, we offered guidance at CAOs to those migrants who wanted it. Six thousand of them were thus able to leave Calais and go to one of the 167 reception and guidance centres we created throughout France. From today until the dismantling is over, 6,500 migrants will do the same.

To this end, we’ve created 283 additional CAOs since the summer, bringing their total number nationally to 450. These CAOs represent a temporary stage – I emphasize this point – lasting a few months along the path taken by the migrants, after which they will, in most cases, lodge asylum applications and then gain refugee status and hence the normal and decent lives to which they legitimately aspire.

This policy of humanitarian shelter – which reflects France’s values, what it is deep down and its international commitments – is accompanied by its absolutely essential corollary, namely absolute firmness with regard to illegal immigration. Since the beginning of the year 1,789 irregular migrants have been deported from the country from Calais.

Moreover, also since the beginning of the year, 33 illegal immigration rings smuggling people into the UK have been dismantled – 20% more than last year. Finally, I stress that 47,000 people have been turned back from entering the country since our border controls were restored on 13 November 2015.

What the government is doing in Calais is also its duty to a town, Calais, a region, its inhabitants, its elected representatives and its economic and social players, who for more than 15 years have borne on their shoulders – often alone – the burden of the international migration crisis’s effects in our country. They’ve done so bravely, generously, patiently. This situation couldn’t continue either.

As the French President repeated in Calais on 26 September, national solidarity must come into play. We owe it to the people of Calais: they too have a right to a normal, peaceful life geared towards economic development and the future.

We also owe it to the security forces, who have been working on the ground for months and months and who, with a professionalism that commands admiration, have been facing tense situations every night around the Rocade [approach road to the port]. Those security forces will also stay as long as necessary to secure the border and prevent new camps being formed in Calais or along the coast. I want to be extremely clear on this point: there’s the dismantling but also the post-dismantling period. The security forces present will carry out checks, particularly at train stations, to ensure that camps aren’t rebuilt in Calais or along the north coast.

So we’re organizing this necessary national solidarity, with these 450 additional CAOs distributed throughout the country. The vast majority of mayors are on board; it’s a credit to them, and I want to thank them very much for it. We’ve seen that the CAOs set up a year ago are working well, without any incidents involving the inhabitants of the communes concerned.

I and my colleague Emmanuelle Cosse, Minister of Housing and Sustainable Homes, also want to thank the préfets [high-ranking civil servants representing the state at departmental or regional level], those discreet and admirable servants of the state, who not only have managed in record time to make available CAO places which are necessary for accommodating migrants in the departments but are also conducting the necessary dialogue with the mayors.

Finally, I want to pay tribute and send a message of gratitude and encouragement to all the teams on the ground in Calais, who have been preparing this dismantling operation in great detail for weeks and are implementing it today: the Pas-de-Calais préfète, Fabienne Buccio, and her colleagues, as well as the teams from the DGEF [General Directorate for Foreigners in France] led by Pierre-Antoine Molina, the OFPRA [French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons] led by Pascal Brice and the OFII [French Office for Immigration and Integration] led by Didier Leschi. I want to thank the dedicated police and gendarmes present for guaranteeing the safety of the operation, and all the staff, permanent or from voluntary organizations, who have been working for months with the migrants to assist them.

This operation is a painstaking job, unprecedented in scale. I’ve noted throughout the day that everyone has been at their post, in position, and that this has so far allowed us to proceed calmly, keeping the operation under control. We are fully aware of the risks and difficulties which could emerge in the next few days, and that’s why we are going to remain utterly mobilized and focused on the next part of the operations.

I also want to thank the British authorities, with whom we have been engaging, for two years now, in an ongoing, friendly, frank and, above all, fruitful dialogue, always imbued with a sense of our countries’ shared responsibility.

Let me remind you that for two years, our negotiations with the British have made it possible to elicit substantial efforts from London, which show that when it comes to managing this situation, responsibility is fully shared between our two governments. The British authorities’ increased commitment in Calais took the form, among other things, of greater cooperation between our border police services in the fight against illegal immigration networks, and also the payment of €100 million, which has contributed chiefly to the work necessary to make the border impenetrable at Calais in the tunnel, at the port and around the Rocade.

As you know, over the past few weeks these negotiations have been further intensified with my British counterpart, Amber Rudd, who took over from Theresa May, now Prime Minister. These negotiations focused on two essential points: a request from us for further financial contributions to help in particular towards the dismantling costs, and the UK taking in all unaccompanied minors in Calais with ties to the UK, in full compliance with the agreements reached between our two countries in Amiens in March.

I am in a position to announce to you this evening that we have reached an agreement on those two points. Firstly, further financial assistance of more than €40 million for Calais will be provided by the British.

Secondly, the UK will indeed take in all unaccompanied minors present in Calais whose family ties to Britain have been established, and it will even go further, since the British authorities have also pledged to look at cases of unaccompanied minors with no family links but whose best interests would be served by going to that country. Since the Amiens agreement, nearly 300 minors have already crossed the Channel, including 200 last week. Others will follow in the coming days and weeks.

I welcome the agreement, for which I again thank the British authorities. This cooperation is of course going to continue.

After this first day, I once again thank all those who are committed to this humanitarian operation.

Thank you./.

Published on 03/11/2016

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