UN human rights experts on Wednesday urged the French government to do more to provide safe drinking water, sanitation services and emergency shelter for migrants and asylum-seekers in Calais and other areas along the coast of France.
The migrants and asylum seekers are also in Grande-Synthe, Tatinghem, and Dieppe along the northern French coast.
“Migrants and asylum-seekers along the northern French coast, including those not admitted to the sports center in Grande-Synthe, are facing an inhumane situation, with some living in tents without toilets and washing in polluted rivers or lakes,” said Leo Heller, the Special Rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation.
It is estimated that up to 900 migrants and asylum-seekers are in Calais, 350 in Grande-Synthe, and an unidentified number at other sites elsewhere along the northern French coast, who are living without adequate emergency shelter and proper access to drinking water, toilets or washing facilities, said the UN experts.
In October 2016, citing security and health risks, the French government dismantled the shanty town in Calais where thousands of migrants had been camped out.
They’d been hoping to cross to Britain via the English Channel tunnel. After the camp was dismantled, the migrants were dispersed to reception centers across the country.
Despite the operation to clear the so-called “jungle,” hundreds of migrants returned.
Heller said some efforts have been made to provide access to emergency shelter, drinking water and sanitation for some migrants, but much more attention is needed from national and international authorities on this issue along the northern French coast.
The UN experts stressed that in the absence of valid alternatives in the provision of adequate housing, including in the Calais area, dismantling the camps is not a long-term solution.
The Special Rapporteurs said they have already contacted the French government to seek clarification about the issues highlighted.