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Improving the humanitarian situation of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in Calais and Dunkirk areas

Migrants from Calais and Gaël

The report presented by Stephanie Krisper (Austria, ALDE) to the Migration Committee, meeting in Paris, highlighted that the basic needs of a high number of refugees, migrants and asylum seekers in the areas of Calais and Dunkirk (France), were not met. It mentions in particular insufficient places of accommodation situated in remote places that are difficult to access, problematic access to food and water with insufficient and overcrowded distribution points, deficient access to non-food items such as blankets or tents, and limited access to healthcare.

This report follows a fact-finding visit carried out on 25 and 26 October 2023 by a parliamentary delegation chaired by Ms Krisper, whose objective was to examine the situation of asylum seekers and migrants as well as their defenders in the city of Calais and its surroundings.

It underlines that these people are stuck in Calais and Dunkirk areas mainly because they have nowhere to go and generally cannot return to their country of origin, a situation exacerbated by the inadequacy of the formal reception system, the lack of information about asylum seekers’ rights as well as cumbersome and long procedures.

Faced with “this appalling situation, especially since winter is here”, the parliamentarians recommend urgently increasing humanitarian and health assistance through additional volunteers and resources for the associations acting on spot, especially the non-mandated structures. The dignity and fundamental rights of these people must be preserved, and violations and harassments committed by police forces must end, they added.

The report also warns of the danger these people face by risking their lives when crossing the Channel to the United Kingdom, at the mercy of criminal smuggling networks.

Finally, the parliamentarians call for a shared responsibility between all European countries, “in order not to leave the burden to countries on the external border of the EU, where congestions points are observed”.

In addition to its President, Ms Krisper, the delegation was composed of Jeremy Corbyn (United Kingdom, SOC), Emmanuel Fernandes (France, GUE), Pierre-Alain Fridez (Switzerland, SOC) and Sandra Zampa (Italy, SOC).