French police clear Iraqi Kurdish migrants from a makeshift camp

French police have cleared 500 migrants, about 95 per cent of whom were Iraqi Kurds, from a makeshift camp near the French port city of Dunkirk. The migrants, including women and children, were hoping to stow away on trucks heading to Britain.

On 6 September, police evacuated the camp and bussed all the migrants to reception centres in different towns and cities, where they will be offered the chance to apply for asylum in France or brought to police centres for ID checks, officials told AFP News Agency.

“These are Iraqi Kurd migrants living in poor conditions. Those who have already received a deportation notice will be placed in detention centres to be sent back to their country of origin or to other European countries,” regional government official, Eric Etienne told AFP.

An estimated 800 migrants are currently in the Grande-Synthe migrant camp and the evacuation comes as part of the government’s plan to prevent new shantytowns from developing along the English Channel. Establishing a camp is against the law and all those living there should be moved on Ethienne said.

More than 200 police participated in the removal of the migrants and destruction of the temporary shelters. The operation went smoothly and with no injuries.

According to the French Interior Ministry there are currently around 450 migrants living in Calais, and some 800 around Dunkirk.

Last month the French parliament passed new legislation to boost asylum procedures by cutting the maximum processing time to 90 days after entry to France from 120. It also makes it easier to expel people whose applications are refused.

TMP – 20/09/2018