The Calais’ mayor has prohibited charity organizations to distribute food among migrants to prevent formation of a new ‘Jungle’ refugee camp.
The mayor of the French city of Calais, located in the north of France, where previously the so-called ‘Jungle’ refugee camp was situated, has forbidden to distribute food to migrants, the Monde newspaper reported.
According to the newspaper, Natacha Bouchart signed a decree on the ban on Thursday, after a visit of Minister of Internal Affairs, Bruno Le Roux, to the city.
“We have suffered too much,” Bouchart said after approving the new restrictions.
Bouchart added that she understood the situation “from a human standpoint,” but, at the same time, added that long-term concerns were at play.
“It’s not a directive against the distribution of meals, but against gatherings because these lead to law and order issues as well as security and waste problems. I took this decision to make sure that no permanent base or squat is created around Calais,” the mayor told the AFP news agency.
Despite the camp’s demolition in November 2016, several hundreds of migrants, who get food from local aid organizations, still stay in Calais. With such a move, Bouchart intends to avoid spontaneous formation of a new ‘Jungle’. As the newspaper noted, the head of the French Interior Ministry has supported the initiative of the Calais’ mayor.
Reportedly, the authorities have already placed posters, explaining the new rules, around the remnants of the ‘Jungle’. In addition, according to the Utopia56 humanitarian aid group, on Thursday, officers fired tear gas at volunteers and teenagers, who were standing in line for food.
As Utopia56 aid group told the La Voix du Nord newspaper, the humanitarian aid group is going to continue to feed migrants “for the simple reason that they are hungry,” even if they have to move their operation underground.
According to other charities, the underlying factors that attract migrants to Calais will not be removed by the new directive.
“They are trying to make the refugees invisible, so they make it harder to distribute in town than the countryside. We can’t distribute at day so we have to do it at night. They are trying to push them out of sight,” a representative of Refugee Community Kitchen and Help Refugees, Renke Meuwese, told the Guardian newspaper.
Meanwhile, president of the Auberge des Migrants charity, Christian Salome, believe that the new policy can worsen the already perilous criminal atmosphere around the coastal city, as “it will be a real problem” for minors, who “have no money at all.”