French Court Orders Government To Provide Humanitarian Aid To Migrants

Migrants in Calais, France, say they've had trouble finding places to eat and sleep. Now a French court has ordered the government to help out.
Posted at 10:01 PM, Jul 31, 2017

France's highest court says the French government needs to provide better aid to migrants in the city of Calais.

For nearly two years, the city was home to a migrant camp known as the "Jungle." That camp was destroyed by French authorities in October 2016.

While the conditions were pretty squalid, a recent report by aid group Human Rights Watch makes it clear the camp also provided a place for migrants to get basic needs met.

French authorities discouraged charities from providing food or shelter to migrants in the region after the camp was torn down.

The Human Rights Watch report, which was based on conversations with migrants in the area, also found that police were pepper-spraying child migrants.

But now the French court says the government must provide the migrants with drinking water, showers and toilets. 

Many of the migrants that come to Calais are seeking passage across the English Channel to the U.K. And while the port city is still attracting migrants, their numbers have dropped to around 400 from 10,000 last year.

After a recent visit to the city, the French ombudsman said adults and children in and around Calais were "in a state of physical and mental exhaustion."

Within hours of the ruling, French authorities said they'll set up two reception centers outside of the city. Those centers will be used to better inform new migrants about how the asylum process works.