The inhuman situation of migrants in Paris: "no elected representative came" denounce the associations

Hundreds of refugees are currently sleeping in disused tunnels on the outskirts of Paris, November 30, 2021. Getty Images - Sam Tarling

Text by: RFI Follow

3 min

The migrant camps near the Stade de France or Place de la République in Paris were dismantled several months ago.

But the issue of welcoming migrants is not resolved.

In recent months, many have gathered in a tunnel that connects the 19th arrondissement of Paris to Pré Saint-Gervais.

With the cold of winter, the situation is untenable for the residents' associations who are trying to help them.


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Hundreds of refugees are currently sleeping in disused tunnels on the outskirts of Paris, near the future Olympic village.

They survive thanks to donations and daily support from activists and neighborhood residents who prepare and deliver hundreds of meals to asylum seekers living in the tunnels. 

Poor associations

A situation denounced by associations. “

First, it was young minors who were there. They were about thirty, it rose to 50 and as the days and months, they are families with children… There, it is urgent, we arrive in winter, there are people who are hypothermic. . There is a person who was hospitalized for three days, who had appendicitis. She had three days of accommodation and then ended up here under the bridge. It becomes inhuman. We don't know what to do anymore. When people go to accommodation, there are others who arrive immediately. We are losing our means a little because there are babies and this is not

sustainable, ”observes with fear Fadila Benrabah, president of À la croisée des rue, at the microphone of Cécile Lavolot of RFI.

► To reread: Shipwreck of migrants: the English Channel, a new “open-air marine cemetery”?

The daily life of these dozens of families is terrible, as this Malian woman met by RFI, Oumou Diakité, recounts: “

We have been sleeping here for 10 days with my husband who is ill.

Frankly, we are in dire straits.

It's cold, sometimes it rains.

My husband is 59 years old.

He is also ill, his feet hurt and has asthma 


We don't feel good, we can't feel good.

We sleep badly.

During the day, we urinate everywhere.

There is no toilet.

You can stay for two or three without washing.

Frankly, this is serious.

Oumou Diakite

Absent politicians

While the Nobel Prize for Literature,

Abdulrazak Gurnah

, denounced Tuesday - when receiving his prize - the "


" nature of the response of the British and French governments to the question of the situation of migrants crossing the Channel, on the field, in the tunnels inhabited by migrants, it is the same observation. “

There's this little kid called Awa who tells me every day that she wants to go to school. She is 10 years old, she can't read, she can't write. I find it sad that a 10-year-old girl lives like that in tents, ”

continues Fadila Benrabah


Several other young children under ten are also trying to survive in these conditions.

“We, as an association, have the feeling of being isolated.

As if it was up to us to take care of all that, it's heavy.

It costs financially because we have to bring them blankets, we have to bring them duvets, clothes so they don't get cold and all that can be bought.

We really have no elected officials who came to us to tell us "We are going to help you", 

"denounces Fadila Benrabah. 

Also to listen: Why immigration is the false problem of the presidential debate


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