Jacques Toubon said that migrants camped out along France's northern coast and in Paris were “in a state of extreme destitution, deprived of all shelter and preoccupied with trying to fulfil their basic needs: to eat, to drink and to wash”.
In 2015 he had already sounded the alarm over the plight of migrants in the squalid Jungle shantytown at the port city of Calais, which at its peak was home to around 10,000 people hoping to stow away on trucks crossing the Channel to Britain.
The camp was razed in October 2016 and the migrants taken to shelters around the country.
Since then “the situation has in fact significantly worsened”, Toubon said in his report on camps in Calais, Grande-Synthe and Ouistreham — all ports on the Channel coast — as well as in Paris.
Migrants and undocumented workers take part in a demonstration to mark International Migrants Day in Paris on Tuesday. Photo: AFP
He accused the authorities of “trying to make (migrants) invisible” by regularly tearing down their camps without providing them with viable alternatives.
President Emmanuel Macron has taken a dual approach to migration, speeding the asylum claims of people deemed to be bona fide refugees while vowing to speed up the deportation of so-called economic migrants.