CALAIS. HOW THE PAS-DE-CALAIS PREFECTURE DISREGARDED THE LAW IN ORDER TO DESTROY THE JUNGLES.
This morning, on the 10th of July 2020, the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais went ahead with the eviction and destruction of the ‘jungles’ found in the industrial zone of the dunes, overriding the ruling given by the judge.
The night before, word had gone around that there would soon be an eviction. In the afternoon the police had come to rue des Huttes, where a large part of the migrant population lived, to stick up two eviction orders signed by the president of the Judicial Tribunal of Boulogne on the 12th of June. These two decisions were regarding the plots BT 247 and 248, covering an area of land no larger than two hectares, at the start of rue des Huttes. It had been an ex parte proceeding because the official who went to the area on the 9th of June had not been able to gather identity information from any of the hundred people living there, who, according to him, ‘speak in a dialect I don’t understand’. This allowed the judge to deliver an ex parte court order preventing those living in the area from defending themselves before a tribunal.
However, not content with having denied the occupants the right to an inter partes trial, on the 10th of July the police were deployed to evict every camp in the industrial zone of the dunes, as well as the other camps in Calais, ignoring all previously imposed area limitations. They embarked on what can only be called a manhunt to try and remove the migrants; taking them, whether willing or not, onto buses which were contracted to drive them to an unknown destination. The migrants’ possessions: the precious tents; sleeping bags; blankets; firewood and all other equipment essential to these men and women’s survival, were collected up by a cleaning company. They are then usually rendered unusable, making the living conditions of the migrants, who will no doubt soon return, even more arduous.
As well as being cruel, this practice is completely ineffective: by midday, some occupants were already making their way back to the evicted areas. Observers, like the migrants who were present on the ground throughout the whole operation, bore witness to a manhunt. ‘The police arrest every migrant who comes near the Jungle. What does that mean? I thought they should only be taking the tents, not the people. Why is it like this?’ asks Mohammed, Yemeni national (the name has been changed). All in all, many hundreds of migrants were evicted and nearly 500 tents must have been seized by law enforcement.
Hearing news of the coming eviction the night before, some had hoped that the move would be accompanied by a process of regularisation, or at least that their ‘Dublin’ fingerprints would be wiped so that they could make a claim for asylum in France. To others, this eviction was just another manifestation of the harassment that they face every day, for wanting to go to England. Everyone, though, comes back to the same question: ‘where are the Human Rights?’.
La cabane juridique, Utopia 56, Human Rights Observers
- Vaina Tetaronia : 07 87 26 90 48
- Liza Le Roy : 06 52 82 82 65
- Siloé Medriane: 06 24 18 11 64
Photo: Someone being forcibly arrested by the police during the eviction on the 10th July.