People Without Papers
Can France cope with the ongoing migrant crisis?
Despite dwindling publicity, France remains a major destination for thousands of refugees in Europe's ongoing migrant crisis. This report investigates their plight, as they face police evictions and general hostility.
"I came here to France but I experienced unspeakable problems on my way here", says 24-year-old Afghan refugee Mustafa. "I have made an application for asylum, and the French government told me to wait for 18 months", he says. There are many like Mustafa for whom French asylum remains a distant reward. In the meantime, rough sleeping and evasion of a frequently brutal French police, using tear gas and shooting rubber bullets, are a daily peril for those fleeing war. "The methods that the French police are using are criminal", says a 'Help Refugees' volunteer. Following the destruction of migrant camps, many are left without shelter. "No house, no tent, no nothing", says Kurdish refugee Zirack, sifting through a deserted camp in the woods. "It’s a big problem for all children. But what can I do? It’s my country’s problem. I can’t stay in my country because my country’s a big, big problem". For many of the migrants stuck in limbo throughout the camps, the prospect of a better life in the UK means risking all to cross the Channel. "France as a country has no respect. Just UK. UK is good for everything", says Zirack.