U.N. Rights Experts Warn of ‘Inhumane’ Conditions Around Calais
U.N. human rights experts warned that hundreds of migrants and refugees in Calais and across northern France do not have access to basic shelter and sanitation.
More than 1,200 people are living in makeshift accommodation in the area after France dismantled the “Jungle” migrant camp last year. U.N. experts called on France to provide adequate shelter and stop harassing NGOs providing aid to refugees.
“Migrants and asylum seekers along the northern French coast, including those not admitted to the sports centre in Grande-Synthe, are facing an inhumane situation, with some living in tents without toilets and washing themselves in polluted rivers or lakes,” said Leo Heller, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights to water and sanitation.
“We are concerned about increasingly regressive migration policies and the inhumane and substandard conditions suffered by migrants,” said Felipe Gonzalez Morales, U.N. special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants.
Activists say at least three people have been killed this year on the roads near Calais, where many hope to find a clandestine route to reach the U.K.
Israel Releases Migrants After Relocation Deal Collapses
Israel released 58 Eritrean and Sudanese detainees who were set to be transferred to Rwanda as the government’s plan to push for the deportation of asylum seekers collapsed.
Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu quickly reneged on a deal with the U.N. refugee agency earlier this week that would have seen thousands of refugees resettled elsewhere and others allowed to remain in the country.
“We are grateful to the Israeli public for their support but the government has waged a psychological war against us and they have done so because of politics but we are refugees, human beings and we demand that they stop,” said 27-year-old Eritrean Muluebrhan Ghebrihiwet at a protest in Jerusalem against forced deportations.
Netanyahu justified the deal with UNHCR by saying Rwanda had recently pulled out of an earlier plan to force migrants to choose between detention and deportation to a third country, Rwanda or Uganda. Both countries have denied making secret deals to accept Eritreans and Sudanese from Israel.
The release of those set for transfer to Rwanda is now required by the Supreme Court. Another 200 detainees slated for deportation to Uganda may also be released soon.
Nauru Ends Right of Appeal to Australian High Court
The Pacific island of Nauru, where refugees trying to reach Australia are held offshore, terminated a 1976 deal allowing appeals to the Australian high court, the Guardian reports.
In the four decades since the deal, 11 of the 16 appeals to the high court were by migrants challenging Nauru’s rejection of their asylum claim. Only one of these cases was dismissed by the court.
“We are sending asylum seekers to an island prison where they have virtually no rights if rights of appeal to the high court are taken away,” said human rights lawyer George Newhouse. “Everybody should be concerned if important legal rights are being taken away from vulnerable asylum seekers and Nauruan citizens in secret.”
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