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French and British Governments Need New Approach to Irregular Migration

At least 27 people, including a young girl, died in the frigid waters off France this week while trying to cross to the United Kingdom in an inflatable dinghy. The tragedy has intensified a dispute between British and French officials over who bears…
Activists and members of associations defending migrants' rights light candles in front of a banner reading "309 dead on the France UK border since 1999", during a gathering outside the port of Calais, northern France, November 25, 2021.
News

Government Should Not Dismiss, But Act on Reports of Inhumane Treatment

Three weeks after French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin dismissed a Human Rights Watch report on police abuse against migrants in northern France as “lies,” national officials are beginning to change their tone. Didier Leschi, head of the French…
A woman and two children stand in front of two police officers
Report
Summary Five years after French authorities dismantled a sprawling migrant encampment on the edge of Calais, large numbers of migrants continue to arrive in northern France, many in the hope of crossing the Channel to reach the United Kingdom. Today…
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Five years ago this month, French authorities dismantled the sprawling Calais migrant encampment known as the “Jungle,” dispersing hundreds of men, women, and children to refugee centers across the country. But because the draw of northern France is its…
Abdul Saboor at his home in Paris, March 2021.
News

Strategy of Enforced Misery Against Children, Adults

(Paris) – French officials regularly subject adults and children living in migrant encampments around Calais to degrading treatment, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Five years after French authorities demolished the sprawling…
Two children wearing winter coats stand in a forest in front of a group of police officers
News

Flout Child Protection, Immigration Rules

(Paris) – French police summarily expel dozens of unaccompanied children to Italy each month in violation of French and international law, Human Rights Watch said today. To enable the returns, the police frequently record on official documents…
A member of the French border police checks identity documents in March 2021 at the Menton-Garavan station, the first French train station for those travelling between Genoa, in Italy, and Nice, in France.
News

Stop and Punish Abuse, Provide Accommodation

On Monday night, I felt shame and disgust as I watched videos of law enforcement officers from my own country violently removing people from their tents in Paris’ Place de la République, confiscating makeshift shelters and sleeping bags, and violently…
500 tents to shelter migrants were set up on Place de la République in Paris on November 23, 2020, before being violently dismantled by police forces
News

Over a Thousand Still Stranded in Hellish Conditions on Greek Islands

In recent days, France has welcomed 49 children flown in from the nightmarish situation in the camps on Greece’s Aegean islands, where thousands of asylum seekers and migrants are stranded in horrendous conditions. On August 20, France relocated to…
Two boys walk in a makeshift camp next to the Moria camp for refugees and migrants on the island of Lesbos, Greece, September 17, 2018.
News

The Death Should Prompt Policy Change in London and Paris

It is almost five years since the body of Alan Kurdi, a three-year-old Syrian boy, washed up on a beach in Turkey. After fleeing the war in Syria with his family, Alan died when the family’s dinghy capsized as they tried to make the dangerous journey…
A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat headed in the direction of Dover, Kent, United Kingdom, August 10, 2020.
News

Authorities Should Urgently Protect Them, Give Them Shelter

Since June 30, unaccompanied migrant children have been camping in central Paris, stuck in limbo while a judge decides on their fate. Aid organizations, including Médecins Sans Frontières and Utopia 56, set up a tent camp in a Paris park to shelter…
Unaccompanied migrant children camping at Jules Ferry Park in the 11th district of Paris, July 2020.
News

Migrant Children in France Left in Limbo and at Risk of COVID-19

The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) has ordered France to take steps to protect a child who was sent back to the streets in early March in the midst of the COVID-19 epidemic. The victim, or applicant, is a Guinean boy…
Migrants hold a banner reading "SOS isolated minors unprotected and on the street = abuse" as they demonstrate against the living conditions of unaccompanied migrant minors and the lack of accommodation, outside the departmental council building in Marsei
News

Unaccompanied Migrant Children Deprived of Basic Services in Marseille and Gap

  (Paris) – Migrant children are being left at risk to the coronavirus because of failures by child protection authorities in Marseille and Gap, France, Human Rights Watch said today. Unaccompanied migrant children are not being given shelter…
Bâtiment du diocèse de Marseille occupé par le Collectif 59 Saint-Just, où vivent actuellement 200 personnes, dont des familles et environ 100 enfants migrants non accompagnés, Marseille, France, octobre 2019.
News

Flawed Procedures in Alps Region Mirror Those in Paris, Elsewhere

(Paris) – Unaccompanied children arriving in France’s Alpine region undergo flawed age assessment procedures that deny many access to needed protection, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The 80-page report…
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News

Controversial tests to determine age of unaccompanied migrant children should go

France’s highest court recently ruled that controversial bone tests to assess the age of unaccompanied migrant children are flawed, but nevertheless comply with France’s Constitution. The Constitutional Council acknowledged that such…
Unaccompanied teens queue outside the Paris evaluation facility (Dispositif d’evaluation des mineurs isolés étrangers, DEMIE) to seek formal recognition as unaccompanied migrant children, October 3, 2018.
News
When Sébastien D., a 17-year-old Cameroonian boy, arrived in Paris at the end of July, he sought help from the Paris child protection system, hoping for placement with a foster family or in a shelter. Instead, after one night in…
Paris
News

Flawed Procedures Block Access to Services

Paris child protection authorities employ inadequate procedures that arbitrarily deny formal recognition as a child to unaccompanied migrant children, denying many the services they desperately need. Human Rights Watch found…
Unaccompanied teens queue outside the Paris evaluation facility
News
Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
News

New provisions risk undermining asylum seekers’ rights while not solving ongoing issues

In France, asylum seekers are sleeping rough, and flawed procedures often leave unaccompanied migrant children adrift, homeless, and excluded from the care they need. But instead of addressing these challenges or correcting…
Tents are seen at a makeshift migrant camp on a street near the metro stations of Jaures and Stalingrad in Paris, France, October 28, 2016