French mayors call for more accommodation for asylum seekers

The mayors of 13 French cities have written an open letter to the government calling for more accommodation for asylum seekers.

The letter, dated 23 April 2019, reads: “As the mayors of major cities, we are confronted by the growing strain on the system put into place to deal with people seeking refuge on our soil, as well as a humanitarian situation that has not stopped getting worse.”

Last month, Michel Cadot, the governor of northern Ile-de-France region, announced that a new refugee centre will be opened in Paris. This will have the capacity to shelter up to 100 migrants.

However, the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, a signatory of the open letter, has called for more to be done to address the accommodation crisis.

There is rising frustration over the inadequate living conditions faced by asylum seekers in France, with many families and children, including unaccompanied minors, living in makeshift camps.

The letter stated: “Hundreds of men, women and children are living in dire conditions in the heart of our cities because of the solutions that have been adopted.”

The mayors called for a national discussion with all political parties to find a solution to the the lack of accommodation for asylum seekers.

In June 2018, the French government raised the amount granted to asylum seekers who are waiting to be provided with accommodation by the state. This is in addition to the allowance for asylum seekers (ADA). Under the new law, asylum seekers are entitled to an extra EUR 7.40 per day to secure private accommodation until a reception place is available.

In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of people seeking asylum in France. In 2017, more than 100, 000 people requested asylum in France, according to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA).

TMP – 13/05/2019

Photo credit: LOIC VENANCE / AFP

Photo caption: A man wakes up amid tents in a gymnasium occupied by migrants at the former lycee Jeanne-Bernard in Saint-Herblain, outside Nantes, western France, on March 28, 2019.