While Calais lights up and offers its inhabitants the opportunity to celebrate the end of the year holidays, there will be no truce at Christmas for several hundred displaced people living under the bridges of the city. Natacha Bouchart, mayor of Calais, has initiated eviction proceedings against them via a summary motion judged during a hearing at the Lille administrative court on December 23, 2020 at 2:30 p.m.

Faced with a series of relentless and brutal evictions from their living sites in recent months, and faced with the installation of fences or the deforestation of entire areas of the city in order to prevent any settlement, many people have been forced to take refuge under the bridges of the city of Calais. These people, who, for the most part, have already gone through numerous evictions are once again, through this operation, under the threat of yet another violation of their fundamental rights .

Taking note of the situation of these people without access to electricity, running water or waste collection, the municipal authorities are, acoording to them, obliged to order this eviction measure in the name of respect, in particular, for the “ human dignity”.

We can only agree with them. The situation of those in exile, including children, surviving under these bridges or in wasteland is outrageous . However, we know that no forced evictions, fencing, deforestation or coercive measures will restore any dignity .

The dignity for which we are pleading involves offering shelter based on free will, full information as well as a social diagnosis making it possible to understand the situation of people and therefore to offer them an adapted solution. The dignity for which we plead also supposes adapted, continuous and unconditional accommodation solutions in Calais or nearby, offering real alternatives to precariousness and being constantly on the move. Respect for this dignity requires, finally, to formulate real proposals for settlement in France or legal access to the United Kingdom, the only ones capable of providing a lasting solution to the situation of displaced people present in Calais.

In the name of this same dignity, and to plead the cause of more humane solutions,We will stand in support and solidarity with the people affected by this measure in the administrative court when they try to defend their right to life, once again hampered by operations going against all humanity .

Signatory Organisations

L’Auberge des Migrants
Secours Catholique
Choose Love
Human Right Observers
Refugee Women’s Center
Collective Aid
Doctors of the World
Calais Food Collective
Cabane Juridique
Utopia 56
Salam – Nord Pas de Calais