Migrants in Calais
25 October 2017

A year after the camp was dismantled, the situation in Calais is now much improved

Since Calais’ illegal camp, where some 7,400 migrants were living, was evacuated a year ago, the local situation has much improved. Migrants have been redirected to Centres d’Accueil et d’Orientation (CAOs – Reception and Orientation Centres) throughout France and these days there are fewer new arrivals in Hauts-de-France hoping to cross the Channel to England illegally.
There are now sixteen times fewer migrants than there were a year ago (500 as against 8,000 last year), although, naturally enough, the problem still weighs somewhat on Calais’ inhabitants.
The marked improvement in the city’s situation has had positive effects on public order as well as on the economy, with:
  • increased port activity;
  • resumption of use of the rolling highway to Calais;
  • a 6% increase in heavy goods vehicle traffic.
The Government has reasserted its determination to prevent new camps being put up in the region. Nonetheless, it is equally determined that migrants should be provided with dignified reception conditions, including better hygiene conditions and provision of healthcare. With the help of the police, the Government is making every effort to prevent setup of such camps while providing alternative accommodation, including at four Centres d’Accueil et d’Examen des Situations (CAESs – Reception and Situation Assessment Centres) in Nord and Pas-de-Calais. Unaccompanied minors are monitored and information is collected on them via dedicated street work carried out on behalf of the State by the France Terre d’Asile association. Shelter at the Saint-Omer Child Protection Centre is available to them.
The Government will continue to implement relentless measures against the people smugglers who exploit human misery and, indeed, against all disturbances of public order. It is set to step up its action to eradicate all people-smuggling networks. Some twenty such networks were already dismantled by mid-October this year, the same number as for the whole of 2016.
The Government, which has received the report on the conditions under which the police intervened in Calais and the Dunkirk area, drawn up by the various inspectorates concerned (General Inspectorate of the Administration, General Inspectorate of the National Police and General Inspectorate of the National Gendarmerie), finds that the most serious allegations made by Human Rights Watch are not confirmed. However, the report emphasises that a number of alleged violations were “plausible”, which is why measures will be taken to improve conditions of intervention on the part of law enforcement, secure their framework for action, avoid unjustified accusations against police officers and gendarmes, and improve their working conditions.