Migrants: a mediator sent to Calais to meet hunger strikers

Two activists and a priest have stopped eating for 17 days to denounce the living conditions of exiles in Calais.

© RFI / Marie Casadebaig

Text by: RFI Follow

2 min

In Calais, in the North of France, while a priest and two associative activists begin their 17th day of hunger strike to denounce the living conditions of the exiles, the Ministry of the Interior is sending from this Wednesday on place a mediator.


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Before putting forward any proposal for an end to the crisis, the boss of the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) Didier Leschi expects to dialogue with the three hunger strikers, who are still extremely determined. 

A 72-year-old chaplain of the Secours Catholique pour le Pas-de-Calais, as well as two activists, engaged in a hunger strike in the Saint-Pierre church in Calais, in particular to demand respect for a winter truce in the expulsions of exiles.

When every day, gendarmes evacuate their makeshift camps.

Asked about this point, the boss of the OFII replies that accommodation exists throughout the territory and therefore shelters are possible.

But for that, he admits, the exiles must agree to move away from Calais and therefore from the British border.

According to him, it is the job of his agents to convince migrants that other solutions are possible for them in France.

Most don't want to stay in France

But what solutions, asks Claire Millot of the Salam association?

Most of the exiles do not wish to stay in France and above all have already been refused asylum rights or are concerned by the Dublin agreement which requires them to apply for asylum in the country through which they entered in Europe. 

According to Claire Millot, the only solution would be to lift this last obligation, recalling that in 2017, 4,000 exiles had benefited from this measure.

It was at the time of the 

dismantling of the "


 ", which had up to 9,000 occupants.

Didier Leschi had been one of the main actors.

In a joint statement, 150 associations joined Tuesday in the demands of the three hunger strikers.

To read also: Calais: hunger strike to warn about violence against migrants


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