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Utopia 56 will be gradually leaving the Liniere camp

August 2, 2016 - 2:24pm

Utopia 56 will be gradually leaving the Liniere camp

Utopia 56 will be gradually leaving the humanitarian camp of La Liniere and Grande Synthe and reinforce their efforts in other slums where refugees suffer the most difficulties.

When ?

We will be leaving by end of September at the latest. Our departure could be sooner if the City hall of Grande Synthe and the Afeji, who are currently managing the camp, organise an earlier replacement.

Why ?

  • Because the welcoming of regugees has now been limited and we do not wish to participate in a restrained welcome policy. As a reminder, a letter from the Sous prefet, sent the 25 Liniere camp is only destined to refugees seeking asylum in France. Furthermore the pilot commity of the 4 and the City hall of Grande Synthe took the decision to restrain the welcoming of new refugees. In a letter written on the 8 july Damien Careme, specifies to « keep welcoming women travelling alone with their children and people presenting significant health issues. ». This does not include alone women and men and the enforcement of this new policy was noticed in the field. Refugees have questioned us on this subject many times.
  • ­Because it is premature to reduce the size of the camp without finding solutions for people being rejected even though we agree with the City hall that the camp should be reduced on a long term basis.
  • Because we can be replaced. A number of associations from Grande Synthe and some of the refugees of the camp are already helping out with the work necessary to the good functioning of the camp. The 900 refugees actually residing in the camp live in better conditions than the thousands of refugees in Calais or Paris where we could be more useful.
  • Because we are needed in other places as well. In Calais, 6000 refugees need our help as we have been doing every day since June. In Paris, we are currently in discussion with the city hall which wishes to implement welcome centers for this fall.
  • We are also in contact with citizen collectives and local associations which, for months, have already been working in different slums in Paris. We wish to help them.

What stage are we at?

We have proven that citizens could manage a humanitarian camp for refugees in France.

We have worked in a constructive manner with the Grande Synthe city hall and Medecins Sans Frontier as well as many other local associations. This experience has strengthened us.

As of today, we have taken the decision to anounce our departure ahead of time in order allow a reorganisation period for the refugees.

Together, we wish to keep working on a dignified welcoming of refugees in France.

What can you do?

Sign up as a volunteer to help us in Grande Synthe and Calais.

We will need your help in Grande Synthe until current stations run by Utopia 56 volunteers are fully run by Afeji employees or other associations. As a reminder, Utopia 56 currently manages, with the help of refugees and other associations:

  • The 4 community kitchens (providing wood, food preperations when the available commodities are not known to the refugees).
  • The free food distributions.
  • The distribution of 250 meals for breakfast and 400 meals at lunch (with the help of the Kesha Niya Ktchen).
  • The laundry (it runs during the day for clothes and decontamination of blankets and sleeping bags during the night).
  • The reparations of shelters.
  • The minibus provided by the city hall for the trips between the camp and the supermarket (in order to avoid having pedestrians on the motorway).
  • The supervision of the children in the school.
  • The welcom in the « women and children center » (sewing machines, massages, clothing distributions and changing rooms).
  • The night watch.
  • The cleaning of the camp.

Spread the word of our work.

Financially help us via the site:

What is the history of the Liniere camp?

During winter 2016, a few thousand refugees lived in the muddy conditions of the old Baroch camp. The city hall of Grande-Synthe ad MSF decided to open an actual humanitarian camp, despite the opposition of the gorvernment. The Grande-Synthe city hall asked Utopia 56 to manage the camp from the 7th of March to the 7th of may with ratio of 2700 days of volunteering per month, we were proud of our contribution when the 25th of March Security commision voted in favor of the opening of the first humanitarian camp of France. It wasn’t easy ! During several weeks, volunteer vehicles were used as barriers in front of the camp to avoid to entrance of smuggler’s cars and protect the refugees, and the children. The fire watch was run by volunteers day and night until the state took charge of the camp.

Since the 7th of May, the Afeji (an association of employees presided by Michel Delebarre) manages the camp in the manner of a three party convention, state/city hall/ Afeji. We have continued our work in all the essential stations of the camp, observing, grieving and denouncing the restrictions of welcoming and the decrease of shelters. That is why today, we have decided to announce our dearture from the camp ahead of time in order to have a sucessful and peaceful reorganisation for the refugees.