Migrants in Calais: French justice cancels anti-food distribution orders


French justice has canceled orders from the prefecture of Pas-de-Calais, in the north of the country, prohibiting associations not mandated by the state from distributing meals and drinks to migrants in the center of the city of Calais, announced on Tuesday the lawyer for the associations at AFP.

Many migrants seeking to reach England, by sea in small boats or by getting into trucks, pass through the Calais region. The authorities are trying to prevent these flows, in particular by dismantling the makeshift camps.

Citing "public order disturbances" and "health risks", the prefecture had also issued orders prohibiting associations not mandated by the State from distributing food and drinks in certain streets of the center of Calais between September 2020 and April 2022, then again in August 2022 for a smaller area.

In a judgment of October 12, consulted by AFP, the Administrative Court of Lille, seized by associations (Catholic Relief, Doctors of the World ...), considers that the prohibitions enacted by three prefectural decrees of September, November and December 2020, "are disproportionate to the aims pursued", in particular because they affect "the living conditions of particularly vulnerable populations".

The court points out that "the distributions provided by the State", via a mandated association, La Vie Active, "are quantitatively insufficient" to "ensure three meals a day for each person".

The lawyer for the associations, Me Patrice Spinosi, hailed Tuesday “a great victory”, considering that the court condemned “a practice particularly prejudicial to the fundamental rights of these foreigners”.

“This is precedent,” he assured.

The Editorial Board (with AFP)

Image credit: Shutterstock / Anjo Kan

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