On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, from 8:29 a.m., a large-scale eviction operation took place in Grande-Synthe. The HRO team, whose main activity consists in observing and documenting the eviction operations, counted 110 tents and 113 tarpaulins taken from displaced people by the police. 10 manually built wooden shelters were destroyed. About 300 people, including families and unaccompanied minors, now find themselves homeless as associations working at the border are running out of their stocks of tents.

Last month, on April 16, 2021, the municipal authorities, using a tractor pulling a skip and various construction machinery, orchestrated the eviction and displacement of the people living in different living sites in Puythouck, to a new living site. This operation is part of a policy of invisibilization of displaced people in transit at the border. According to the statements of the local newspaper “La Voix du Nord”, this “redevelopment” of the Puythouck woods will allow fishermen and walkers to enjoy the area during the summer period.

Today, despite this recent forced displacement of the camp, another eviction operation of the new living site has been carried out. Once again, all personal belongings seized by the police were lacerated and immediately thrown in the skip by Ramery, the cleaning team mandated by the State. These items therefore remain permanently lost. Moreover, the HRO team witnessed the systematic use of knives to destroy tents and shelters, even though some people were still inside. The dangerous nature of this practice increases the already excessive violence of the eviction.

On February 11, 2021, the National Consultative Commission for Human Rights (CNCDH) released an opinion on the situation of people in exile in Calais and Grande-Synthe. Its first recommendation was that “no evacuation operation be carried out without suitable shelter / accommodation proposals being formulated with sufficient information”. In defiance of this recommendation, the HRO team was able to observe this morning the total absence of an interpreter during the eviction operation. People being evicted were informed only by means of gestures and mobile applications such as Google translate. This shortcoming constitutes an obvious violation of the right to be informed in a language one understands, as well as being an obstacle to access alternative accommodation solutions.

Signatory Organisations

Auberge des Migrants
Collective Aid
Human Rights Observers
Refugee Women’s Center
Salam Nord / Pas-de-Calais
Solidarity Border
Utopia 56