TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Police violence towards refugees in Calais has intensified to “excessive and life-threatening” levels, according to a new report, and the overall situation for unaccompanied minors has deteriorated markedly, a year after the refugee camp there was razed.
The report by the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) says French police tactics against the estimated 700 refugees at the port are alleged to have included driving unaccompanied girls to remote spots and abandoning them. Researchers used interpreters to interview 233 refugees, including 94 children as young as 12, and found repeated “disproportionate and indiscriminate” accounts of police brutality including beatings severe enough to break limbs.
The RRDP report, to be published on Monday, says French and British authorities have effectively abandoned them and a lack of protection has allowed recurrent and gratuitous attacks from local racists as well as police, the Guardian reported.
Several hundred child refugees are in the Calais area, many of them believed to be eligible for entry to the UK. Of the unaccompanied minors questioned by RRDP researchers, many sleeping rough in forests or fields around Calais, 40% said they had family in the UK.
The high-profile destruction of the so-called Jungle camp in Calais a year ago was meant to stop the accumulation of refugees hoping to start a new life in the UK by dispersing its inhabitants across France. Yet the port is still a magnet for many despite a “hostile and violent environment” that the report says manifests itself in a failure to ensure refugees have access to food, water and other basic needs.
Researchers also documented numerous accounts of police targeting individuals with pepper spray as they slept, and confiscating blankets and even shoes.
RRDP founder Marta Welander said: “The current state approach of police brutality and intimidation does little to resolve the unsustainable situation.”
Full story: tasnimnews.com
Tasnim News Agency