6 November 2015

A coalition of NGOs, including ELENA-France, filed a legal challenge last week, along with applicants from Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, to the human rights conditions in the Calais slum.

The judge found that the reports of the NGOs involved, and the media, revealed an emergency situation and that the public authorities had to guarantee the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of those living there. She considered that insufficient access to water and toilets and the lack of rubbish collection exposed the camp population to a risk of inhuman and degrading treatment.

In a joint press release (in French only) of Medécins du Monde and Secours Catholique-Caritas France, who were involved in the legal challenge, the ruling was welcomed as a ‘positive first step in the recognition of this situation and its crisis’. However, the plaintiffs were unsatisfied that their demand for the 6,000 inhabitants of the camp to be sheltered was not agreed to and stated that they would remain vigilant so as to ensure that the emergency measures would be implemented.

The judge ordered the authorities in Calais to; install 10 additional water points and 50 latrines, set up a collection system for rubbish, install mobile rubbish containers, carry out a cleaning of the site and make one or more routes available for emergency access. These measures should be implemented immediately; within the next eight days. A 100 euro per day penalty would result in case of delay. The authorities were also ordered to identify unaccompanied minors in distress within 48 hours of the judgment, so that they could be suitably placed. 

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This article appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 6 November 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.