Refugee charities in northern France have issued a robust response to the Calais Mayor’s decision to ban food distribution in a large part of the town, vowing to continue to provide aid to refugees in spite of the mayoral decree.
Seven organisations that offer support for refugees in Calais have signed a statement expressing their “determination to continue their action”, stating that the reason they do this work is because the authorities “do not fulfil their own obligations in terms of law and humanity”.
A decree issued on Wednesday by Mayor Natacha Bouchart prohibits organisations from distributing aid in Dunes, a large industrial zone in Calais close to where the “Jungle” camp was located before it was demolished in October, ordering for a “ban on abusive, prolonged and repeated occupants of the industrial zone”. It was not clear how such a ban would be implemented.
In the joint statement – signed by L’Auberge des Migrants, Care4Calais, Help Refugees, RCK, Salam, Secours Catholique and Utopia 56 – the charities state that their aid distributions “contribute to vital needs [...] not only in terms of food, but also to supply blankets and warm clothes to avoid the possibility of death on the street”.
It proceeds to state that the distributions are important because they help “ensure the safety of Calais residents and traders” and provide “an opportunity to identify medical problems, especially for minors who are victims of the cold”, as well as making it possible for refugees to receive legal advice.
The statement reads: “After attempting to prevent Catholic Relief to allow the migrants present on Calais to wash, the Mayor of Calais wants to prohibit associations, on the pretext of disturbing public order, to distribute meals.
This article continues at [UK Independent] Charities vow to continue giving food to refugees despite Calais Mayor's ban