In Calais, anti-food distribution orders to migrants deemed “disproportionate”

The public rapporteur of the administrative court of Lille estimated this Tuesday, September 20 “disproportionate” three orders from the Pas-de-Calais prefecture prohibiting associations from distributing meals and drinks to migrants in the city center of Calais, advocating their cancellation.

A dozen migrant aid organizations, including Secours Catholique, Médecins du Monde or Utopia 56, challenged these orders, taken between September and December 2020, judging that they carried “a disproportionate attack on human dignity”.

They were called Aleksandra, Abdulfatah, Yasser… They died in Calais, for lack of asylum

The public rapporteur estimated on Tuesday that “many immigrants” depended “directly from the applicant associations”the distribution of meals ensured by the associations mandated by the State being “quantitatively insufficient” seen “the number of migrants present in Calais”.

“Disorders of public order” according to the prefecture

While the prefecture justifies this ban by invoking “public disorder” and ” sanitary risks “, the public rapporteur considered that the disturbances to public order could not be directly linked to the distributions. The associations, he also highlighted, respect health protocols. For his part, M.e Sonia Fodil-Cherif, the applicants’ lawyer, pleaded:

“We cannot prohibit humanitarian associations from distributing food and water to people who are vulnerable even though the State cannot meet the needs of these people. »

A thousand migrants still in Calais

Seized in summary release in September 2020, when this measure was put in place, since regularly renewed, the Lille administrative court had rejected the request for suspension of the associations, noting in particular that the association mandated by the State La Vie active distributed water and meals. The associations had then lodged an appeal before the Council of State, in vain.

The State restricts the distribution of meals in Calais, “a discriminatory decree which targets migrants”

The latest of these prefectural decrees was in force until September 19, 2022, and has not since been extended. “We have the feeling of having been heard by the public rapporteur who went in our direction. Without the distributions of associations not mandated by the State, people would not have to drink and eat. in Calais, reacted to AFP Juliette Delaplace of Secours Catholique. “The basic principle of humanitarian aid is to be close to the people who need it”she added.

According to the associations, around a thousand migrants are currently living in and around Calais, in the hope of reaching the English coast.

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