This morning’s key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Migrant camp in northern France housing 1,600 people burnt to the ground
- The Le Touquet treaty, which moves Britain’s border into France, will be reconsidered
Migrant camp in northern France housing 1,600 people burnt to the ground
Grande-Synthe refugee camp in Dunkirk, France, burnt to the ground Monday night (Telegraph)
Huge fires burned to the ground a Dunkirk migrant camp in northern France, populated by 1,600 refugees who were there in the camp in the hope of reaching Britain, usually by sneaking onto trucks and ferries crossing the English Channel.
The camp had been built by Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), including hundreds of wooden huts. The camp opened in March 2016 as the first camp in France to meet international humanitarian standards, where migrant families could live in relatively dignified conditions in heated wooden cabins. However, conditions deteriorated within a few months as hundreds more migrants arrived at the camp. Tensions were high in the camp because the number of people living there far exceeded the capacity of the camp, which was more like 700.
The population of the camp was originally Iraqi and Kurdish migrants. But when migrant camp known as “The Jungle” in nearby Calais was closed down in October of last year, a large number of the 7,000 migrants that had been housed there moved to the Dunkirk camp, which has been called “the new jungle.” Many of these new arrivals were afghans who did not get along with the Iraqis and Kurds, resulting in tensions that sometimes led to violence.
The first fire broke out early Monday evening, following fighting between groups of migrants of different nationalities. Some 600 migrants took part in the fighting. The fights continued late into the night, and several hours later, additional fires burned down almost all of the wooden huts, leaving nothing behind but ashes. According to French officials, multiple fires must have been set on purpose.
The migrants had been evacuated and rehoused in gymnasiums that had been empty and were converted into temporary emergency shelter in the Dunkirk suburb of Grande-Synthe. However, those can only accommodate 900 people. Some migrants say that they’ll return to Calais and set up makeshift camps.
Officials are unable to say how long the migrants will stay in the gymnasiums, or what will happen to them next. With the warm weather of summer, a new flood of migrants is expected. RFI and Independent (London) and New Statesman
- Thousands of refugees hide from French police as Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp is demolished (28-Oct-2016)
- France to demolish ‘The Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais (22-Oct-2016)
- Bulldozers bury the ‘Jungle’ refugee camp in Calais France (02-Mar-2016)
The Le Touquet treaty, which moves Britain’s border into France, will be reconsidered
The Le Touquet Treaty of 2003 was designed to allow France and Britain each to perform its border checks in the other country, as if there were land borders between the two countries, rather than just a sea border.
Without this treaty, a person traveling by ferry from France to Britain would be allowed to travel, and would only get an immigration check once he arrived in Britain. But under the treaty, Britain can perform immigration checks while the traveler is still in France, and block the person from traveling to Britain.
Many people blame the existence of the refugee camps in Calais and Dunkirk on the Le Touquet Treaty. According to their reasoning, if migrants could simply get on a ferry to Britain, then the refugee camps would be in Dover rather than in Calais or Dunkirk.
When Britain passed the “Brexit referendum” on June 23 of last year, calling for Britain to leave the European Union, some French officials immediately began calling for an end to the Le Touquet treaty.
In the months that followed, French and British reaffirmed their commitment to the treaty. However, that may not continue. In the upcoming French presidential election, all three leading candidates in the French presidential election are promising to withdraw from this treaty. Telegraph (London) and Guardian (London – 30-Aug-2016) and Economist and PDF: Text of 2003 Le Touquet Treaty
KEYS: Generational Dynamics, France, Dunkirk, Grande-Synthe refugee camp, Calais, Britain, English Channel, Iraq, Kurds, Afghanistan, Le Touquet Treaty, Brexit
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