NGOs are expressing concerns with the conduct of police officers towards migrants and asylum seekers in the streets of Paris where more than 100 people are still without shelter.

Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the local association P’tis déj à Flandres report that French police is harassing migrants by confiscating their blankets and sleeping bags, and sometimes using teargas to disperse them. According to the organisations the migrants are prohibited to sit in the waiting line of the Humanitarian Center of the Chapel where they are waiting for a place of accommodation.

ECRE member France terre d’asile who has staff members in the streets on a daily basis confirms that more than a 100 people are sleeping in the streets and that the lack of capacity of the Humanitarian Center have caused tensions. The organisation’s Director Pierre Henry Director told stated:

“When people are forced to sleep in the streets in winter it leads to violence and confrontation but we are hoping that that the opening of a new Family Center in the South of Paris and the transfer of people to emergency shelters will solve parts of the problem,”

The French Minister of the Interior, Bruno Le Roux, firmly rejected the charges of police harassment, saying that the “national sport” of criticizing the police should stop. However, Human Rights Watch emphasizes that French authorities have not shown any intention to investigate allegations of what would be inhumane practices against already extremely vulnerable people.

Photo: “Homeless Afghan refugees in Paris” (CC) Zoriah, 2009