Post date: 05-Sep-2016 22:34:02

Calais, Dunkirk and Small Camps: New Data on Refugee Settlements in Northern France

Today Refugee Rights Data Project launched three new reports that present a complete picture of the situation faced by refugees and displaced people in northern France: in Calais, Dunkirk, and smaller camps dotted around the region. This constitutes the largest research effort around refugees and displaced people in the region to-date.

These research findings come at a time when the future of the situation in northern France has become increasingly uncertain – following government evictions of local shops and restaurants in the Calais camp, a visit by French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Friday, and post-Brexit discussions casting doubt on the longevity of the Le Touquet agreement between France and the UK. Given these developments, the need to fill information gaps relating to the situation faced by displaced people in Calais, Dunkirk and the smaller camps appears more important than ever.

Still Waiting, contains data from 589 surveys with camp residents (approx. 6.5% of the total) in July / August 2016.

  • The largest proportion, 32%, want to go to the UK because they can speak English.
  • A number thought they would have better education opportunities in the United Kingdom than elsewhere (28.7%),
  • Many reported having family in the UK (21.4%).
  • 46% said the most important kind of information for them is how to go to the UK legally,
  • 34% want to know why it is so difficult to go to the UK.
  • The largest proportion, 14%, had been living in the camp for approximately one month
  • 8.7% had been in the camp for more than a year; the vast majority of whom still want to continue trying to reach the UK (87.5%).

The "Other" Camp, contains data from 506 surveys with residents of the camp in Grande-Synthe (approx. 30% of the total) in March / April 2016

  • Almost a quarter of women respondents were pregnant at the time of the survey.
  • 42% of respondents had experienced police violence in France.
  • In total 47% of survey respondents below 18 years old reported having been detained during their stay in France.
  • 28% of all respondents (minors and adults combined) had been detained.
  • The study found correlation between refugees’ and displaced people’s length of stay in France and their experience of police violence and detention.
  • 54% of all respondents, 50% of women and 39% of minors said they did not know how to seek asylum to a country they are heading for. This raises concerns about the fulfilment of these people’s basic human rights; where a right to seek for asylum is a universal right for people fleeing conflict, persecution and discrimination of various forms.

The Unknown Knowns, contains observations from five discrete settlements dotted around the region.

  • The small camps are generally neglected by aid organisations and mostly rely on the support of individuals.
  • Although support from local communities was relatively common, living conditions resembled those in the Calais camp. Thus, the situation raises serious concerns about human rights infringements and unmet humanitarian standards.
  • The camps tend to have a higher turnover than the larger camps, and many residents arrive into the camp from Calais and/or Dunkirk.
  • Since these camps are less populated, residents may become easier targets for citizen violence and targeted right-wing attacks.