We will do our best to keep you updated on today’s court case challenging the French authorities’ decision to demolish part of the Calais refugee camp that is ‘home’ to over 3,000 people.
You can read our statements on the eviction here and here. Yesterday we shared the findings of a camp census we undertook with l’Auberge des Migrants – we found 423 unaccompanied minors in the camp. Read more about the census here.
You can join the thousands of people calling on David Cameron to ask for a delay to the camp demolition and to do more to protect the unaccompanied minors here.
Tuesday 23rd February, 16:48
CALAIS UPDATE – VERDICT POSTPONED – WHAT HAPPENED IN COURT
The hearing has completed. Court sat for around 1hr 45 minutes.
The judge did not rule. We do not have a confirmed time for the verdict but it is believed likely to be tomorrow.
Defence confirmed they only have 1156 alternative accommodation places currently available in Calais and throughout France. (details below)
The Associations census data shows need to accommodate 3455 people from Southern section of camp imminently- and a further 2042 in the Northern section which Prefecture have stated they will clear next.
Judge greatly concerned about differing numbers. Said the Prefecture figures were ‘a big problem’. Demanded an explanation for how numbers arrived at.
Prefecture admitted flaws in their methods for assessing numbers, particularly of children, currently in camp. But said they believed entire camp (north and south) to be around 3000 people.
Associations explained census methodology including a tally with water consumption and waste production on site as well as food distribution numbers.
Defence failed to refute the claim that the CAO’s (Centres of Accommodation) would only be available until 31st March.
Defence stated essential services will not be destroyed. We understand these to include the church, the school, the women and children’s centre, the youth centre and the library.
The lawyer for the associations, Julie Bonnier, called for the French authorities to stop the traumatisation of vulnerable people by bulldozing their homes in midst of winter. She also reminded the Judge not to commit the same humanitarian mistake that was made with Sangatte where it was razed, only to leave smaller slums and squats in its place.
Julie Bonnier also reminded the judge that in 2015 the refugees were invited to occupy this space and assured there was no chance of expulsion.
And Bonnier reminded the court that if Centres of Accommodation only available until 31st March, people will simply return to Calais – she asked for a consistency in the services and solutions on offer.
Accommodation places available include:
300 in Jules Ferry and the shipping containers – with 48 places within containers for children (adult supervision to be provided).
56 places in specialised accommodation in Calais and surrounds for children
200 places in ‘heated tents’ for children in Calais camp
200 places in ‘heated tents’ for adults
400 places in centres of accommodation around France
A note from the Associations (not raised in court) – 400 of the 480 places in the ‘heated tents’ are currently uninhabitable. They are flooded, not heated, prone to collapsing in heavy winds (causing one man to have his leg broken) and have no facilities or services for vulnerable children.
We await the verdict with interest.
Tuesday 23rd February, 13:46
CALAIS UPDATE FROM COURT
Court time was set for 2pm, judge has just arrived at 2.40pm. 60 ppl are in attendance. 7 are refugee community reps, 8 are from the associations (including Help Refugees & L’Auberge des Migrants) who filed the case. The rest are journalists. There were around 200 more people hoping to attend. They are now waiting outside.
The judge may not rule today.
We will confirm as soon as we know more.
Tuesday 23rd February, 11:36
CALAIS UPDATE – COACH TO LILLE – JUDGE NAME CONFIRMED
The coach in Calais has loaded (captured on camera by Newsnight film crew) and the teams are on their way to the court case in Lille.
Passengers include over 20 #refugees (community spokespeople, women & children) and aid workers.
Our lawyer Julie Bonnier has confirmed the judge as Valérie Quéméner
Tuesday 23rd February, 10:39
CALAIS UPDATE – JUDGE IN CAMP
The Judge came to camp at 9am, accompanied by the Prefect, Sub-prefect and our lawyer. She spent 20 mins in the main camp and visited the church and the women and children’s centre where she met several unaccompanied minors. She then spent 30 mins in the govt centres incl the containers and Jules Ferry. She has left the site. The case will be heard at 2pm. We will update as soon as know more.
Tuesday 23rd February, 10:06
Read about Nabila, a pregnant woman in the Calais Jungle who could lose her home tonight if judge rules against delay.
Court hearing commences at 2pm. We’ll keep you updated on events as they happen.
From the Evening Standard –
Calais Jungle camp: Nabila is about to give birth – and lose her home
Makeshift homes, schools, cafes, mosques and churches in the Calais ‘Jungle’ migrant camp are to be demolished in the next 48 hours. David Churchill met families facing an uncertain future as the bulldozers prepare to move in.
Please click here to read more.
We would not be able to do our work without your support and kindness. Many of the refugees we help are fleeing the conflict zones of Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan. Others are trying to escape political oppression in countries like Eritrea. All are human beings like us. As well as providing immediate physical assistance, we want to help refugees maintain their dignity.
Please click through if you would like to find out more about our work in Calais, Dunkirk, Lesvos, Samos, Idomeni and other locations. If you would like to know how you can help refugees, please check out our Get Involved section where you can find out how to fundraise for us and how to make a donation. Thank you!