This picture shows a group of migrants carrying sticks during clashes near the ferry port in Calais, northen France. Photo/Archive/EPA/Johan ben Azzouz
This picture shows a group of migrants carrying sticks during clashes near the ferry port in Calais, northen France. Photo/Archive/EPA/Johan ben Azzouz

A number of NGOs have published a report claiming that the police systematically harass and intimidate volunteers helping migrants in Calais. The reports lists several hundred incidents and intimidation ranging "from systematic identity control to parking tickets, threats, insults and physical violence." The mayor Calais Natacha Bouchart struck back, the "accusations are groundless."

Calais is a large port on the English Channel, across which many migrants try to reach Great Britain. ''We associations are forced to note that, in Calais, the police persecute volunteers and too often violate legal obligations,'' the joint report by the NGOs L'Auberge des Migrants, Utopia 56, Help Refugees and Refugee Info Bus states, according to France Info.


Police 'actively prevent' humanitarian work

''The French authorities do not only ignore their obligation when it comes to human rights but they also actively prevent volunteers from carrying out their humanitarian work,'' the report states. From November 1, 2017 until July 1, 2018, the NGO recorded 646 incidents regarding alleged intimidation of humanitarian aid workers by the police in and around Calais. The intimidation inclde physical violence to confiscation of belongings. ''This intimidation ranges from systematic identity control to parking tickets, threats, insults and physical violence,'' the report noted, as well as a ban on giving out food and non-food items, being summoned to the police station and the confiscation of the personal belongings of the volunteers. However, the mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart, has said that the "accusations made by the NGOs are groundless."
 

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