• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
French court delays 'Jungle' migrant camp eviction
Photo: AFP

French court delays 'Jungle' migrant camp eviction

AFP/The Local · 23 Feb 2016, 15:19

Published: 23 Feb 2016 08:27 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Feb 2016 15:19 GMT+01:00

"We will not know today," said a source in the court in the northern city of Lille, adding that a decision was not now expected until Wednesday or Thursday.
   
Emotions were running high in the "Jungle" on the outskirts of the northern port city of Calais, where many residents had refused to leave despite a 7pm deadline to vacate the southern half of the camp.
   
The issue has played into the fraught discussions about Britain's possible exit from the European Union, with France under pressure to stop refugees trying to board lorries and ferries to cross the Channel.
   
Some British opponents of "Brexit" say they would lose the ability to call on France to stop the flow of refugees if Britain were to leave the EU.
   
Local authorities had said the demolition of the makeshift houses in the southern section of the camp would begin on Wednesday.
   
But charities working in the Jungle have challenged the eviction order, and a magistrate visited the camp early on Tuesday to assess the situation.
   
She was initially due to announce a verdict later in the day, but this was delayed.
 
   
Many residents appeared to be standing firm.
Story continues below…
   
"I don't have anywhere else to go," said John, a 28-year-old Sudanese migrant.
   
"We don't want to leave Calais because we don't want to get further away from England, which is still our goal."
 

"Around 500 to 1,000 migrants will just disappear because there is nowhere for them to go," Michel Janssens from the charity Medecins sans Frontieres told The Local. 

"It's not human to do that. We are not fighting for them to keep the camp but for the occupants to be given adequate and humane lodging," Janssens added.

"All this will do is see hundreds end up living in clandestine camps."

The state wants to eventually reduce the population of the Jungle to 2,000 people.

Those being pushed out of the camp can go to one of around 100 accommodation centres elsewhere in France, or into refitted shipping containers set up nearby.

The containers have not proved popular with migrants, who say they lack communal spaces and restrict their movements, while local charities say they fail to meet international standards.

Conditions in other camps along the northern French coast are even more dire than those in the Jungle.

The French authorities have been gradually trying to shut down the Jungle, encouraging residents to head for proper centres elsewhere in France.

However, many of the residents have family or community ties to Britain and are reluctant to give up their dream of crossing the Channel.

A campaign spearheaded by celebrities such as actors Jude Law and Benedict Cumberbatch has called on the British government to let children from the camp be reunited with families in Britain and take responsibility for the "humanitarian crisis" in the Jungle.

Calais town hall has claimed the eviction is in response to "abuses" committed by migrants that had led to "an aggravated level of tension" in recent weeks.

It said camp residents were throwing stones and other projectiles at lorries and security forces on a daily basis, but also condemned members of far-right groups who loiter outside the Jungle to beat up migrants.

On Monday, six migrants were each given a month in prison for occupying a ferry in northern France in a protest calling for Britain to allow asylum seekers in.

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Today's headlines
14,000 pregnant women in France took 'birth defect drug'
Dépakine has been linked to an increased risk of various congenital defects. File photo: AFP

Health authorities have been criticized for their slow reaction to warnings that Dépakine can be dangerous during pregnancy.

How to keep cool during France's heatwave
Photo: AFP

Almost all of France is on a heatwave alert. Here's how to keep cool.

Heatwave warnings extended yet again as France bakes
Photo: AFP

The national weather agency has issued orange alerts to a further 23 départements.

Paris warned about high level of ozone pollution
Photo: AFP

Free parking on Thursday to fight the high pollution levels.

French Muslim body to talk burqini ban with government
Photo: AFP

The French Council of Muslims has called an urgent meeting with the interior minister citing a "fear of stigmatization of Muslims in France".

Where to go in France to find the best ice cream
Be quick - it's a scorcher of a summer in France this year. Photo: AFP

The tastiest way to get through the heatwave.

French schools to ramp up security with 'mock attacks'
Photo: AFP

French schools will soon be forced to stage simulated attacks in a bid to prepare children for potential terror attacks, among other measures.

French police 'force woman to remove burqini' on beach
A file photo of a woman in a burqini. Photo: AFP

Pictures have emerged showing armed police officers in southern France apparently forcing a woman to remove her burqini.

Déja vu? Familiar faces in France's presidential race
President Hollande, who hasn't yet announced if he will run, and Nicolas Sarkozy, who is eyeing up the top job next year. Photo: AFP

France is yearning for political renewal, but looks set to be stuck with familiar faces in the presidential race.

Frenchman 'kills Brit in stabbing rampage' in Australia
Photo: AFP

A Frenchman allegedly killed a British woman and stabbed three others in an Australian backpacker's hostel.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
Society
23 subtle signs you'll never quite master French
2,741
jobs available