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Internal borders of the EU On 19 March 2019, the European Court of Justice delivered an important judgment on the French authorities' practices at internal borders. The ECJ had received a request for a preliminary ruling in the case of a Moroccan national arrested at the Franco-Spanish border in June 2016 and taken into police custody. The judgment had two important stipulations: - It is not possible to consider an internal border as an external border, even if temporary controls are restored, as has been the case in France since 2015. - The Return Directive is applicable at internal borders and people who are stopped at internal borders must therefore benefit from the guarantees ensured by this directive. This judgment is extremely interesting for the case of France, which in 2015 re-established temporary controls (actually no longer temporary) leading to tens of thousands of refusals of entry, all illegal according to the ECJ. The Cimade report “Inside, outside, a Europe that is closing in” points to an increasingly impaired access to rights. Activists in the field, particularly on the Franco-Italian and Franco-Spanish borders, are closely monitoring the situation to see whether this judgment leads to changes in practices. Hauts de France (Calais, Grande Synthe, Boulogne) On 28th February the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) condemned France for inflicting “degrading treatment" on an unaccompanied minor from Afghanistan when he was in the country between 2015 and 2016. This child, who was eleven years old at the time, had not been taken into care by the authorities. He had lived for about six months in the slums of Calais, before moving to England, where he is now living. Too bad that the judgement came three years too late! Refugees seeking to go to England live in very small camps in Calais (there are between 500 and 600 people, mainly from Afghanistan, Eritrea and Sudan). There are also refugees in Grande Synthe, where they live in an undersized gymnasium and in camps (between 500 and 600 people, mainly Iraqi and Kurds, and a larger number of minors). The figures can vary significantly. Relationships with local government vary a great deal according to location: - In Calais: while there is strong opposition and no dialogue with the City Council, there are regular contacts with the Prefecture (even if there are disagreements). After legal battles, the Prefecture is now providing water, access to toilets and showers, day centres and cold weather protection. The emergency in Calais is ongoing. Despite constant changes in the volunteer presence, there are advocacy and litigation actions supported by an cross-NGO collective (PSM). - In Grande Synthe: there is ongoing contact with Mayor Damien Carême, but no contact with the State, which simply lets the welcoming (but financially limited) City Hall do its work. The good relationship with the mayor prevents the use of more confrontation litigation (as undertaken in Calais against an openly hostile City Council). There are active NGOs involved in advocacy and litigation. In all the coastal areas, there is a huge police presence, violence and expulsions: between 2 to 5 expulsions per site per week. The watchword is “no settlement". Menton- Ventimiglia According to figures made public by the Prefect of Alpes-Maritimes, the number of arrests in this French department has fallen by 40% over the past year. In 2018, 244 smugglers were brought to justice and 29,600 migrants were arrested at the French border. At the same time, 1,960 unaccompanied minors were taken into care by the reception services of the Département Council, after being arrested at the French border.

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Profile for Border_Crossings

THE PROMISED LAND: Intercultural Learning with Refugees and Migrants  

Project e-book for THE PROMISED LAND - a cross-sectoral project funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union. The book explores...

THE PROMISED LAND: Intercultural Learning with Refugees and Migrants  

Project e-book for THE PROMISED LAND - a cross-sectoral project funded by the Erasmus + programme of the European Union. The book explores...

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