Calais. Associations angry at a new decree prohibiting the distribution of meals to migrants
Nearly 1,300 migrants crossed the English Channel illegally on Monday, according to figures from the UK Ministry of Defence. This is a new record, which comes as several migrant aid associations deplore the « return » of food distribution bans in the city center of Calais. The associations denounce a recurrent and “ineffective” “harassment policy”.
Since August 14, the Pas-de-Calais prefecture has prohibited associations not mandated by the State from distributing water and food at two quays in the city center, an order renewed Monday until September 6. Similar orders, but over a larger area of 31 streets, were taken between September 2020 and April 2022, provoking the ire of associations. The purpose of the measure was then « to prevent the risks linked to Covid-19 and public order disturbances », according to the prefecture.
This new decree is « intended to respond to the difficulties following the recent and dangerous installation of migrant tents in this area where the circulation of heavy goods vehicles and vehicles is particularly important and where the accumulation of waste has been observed », argues the prefecture.
“We are disgusted. We thought we were done with that, ”reacted to AFP Pierre Roques, coordinator in Calais of the association Auberge des migrants. “It proves to us that the policy of the new prefect, who took office at the beginning of August, is in line with his predecessor,” he regretted. The two streets concerned, « this is where people are arriving the most at the moment, and have the least access to services » and distributions organized by the Association La Vie active, mandated by the State.
“There are a hundred people there, including families, unaccompanied minors. The State does not intervene there, ”added Juliette Delaplace, project manager at Secours Catholique. “The idea is to starve people, to cut off food to dissuade people from staying. “We are, recurrently, in completely stupid, ineffective orders” because these people “who flee the attacks, the war, will continue to come”, judged Jean-Claude Lenoir, president of the Salam association, denouncing this “harassment as the only policy”.