Target: Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France
Goal: Release arrested refugees from detention and ensure improved conditions in camps
More than 600 refugees have been arrested and removed from a camp in Calais, France after a recent raid by French riot police. Two-hundred officers broke up the makeshift camp comprised of a group of refugees were forced to migrate after being evicted from their previous campsite. The refugees, most of whom are escaping conflict from the Middle East and Africa, have been left in poor conditions without legal advocacy for years.
In an attempt to wash their hands of the refugees, French officials bulldozed the previous camp, leaving thousands without what little they had while in the refugee camp. Now, after they had settled in another area outside of Calais for lack of anywhere else to go, refugees were tear gassed and arrested in order to remove them from the area.
Many of those arrested in Calais were waiting in the camp until they could secure passage to England. Now, without official asylum status in France, many of the Syrians, Afghans, and Iraqis seeking refuge could be deported back to their homelands to live under fear of violence.
Though measures to reduce refugee influx to France have been in place for five years, the past few weeks have seen increasingly aggressive efforts to get rid of innocent citizens seeking safety from conflict. France’s unwillingness to help those in need is disheartening, and this attitude must be altered immediately. Your signature will demand that French authorities not only release all refugees, but also make efforts to improve their living conditions in camps.
Dear Prime Minister Valls,
Recently, hundreds of refugees from war zones across the Middle East and Africa were arrested during a dawn raid on a refugee camp outside of Calais. In an effort to evict refugees from the makeshift camp, 200 riot police used tear gas and intimidation tactics to force out those seeking refuge from conflicts in their homelands.
The makeshift camp was erected by migrant refugees after a previous campsite was bulldozed by French officials. Many of the refugees, who are seeking passage through the English Channel to England, lack official asylum status in France. Without protection from French officials, some of these refugees could be deported back to their homes to face war, violence, and genocide.
While France should be making every effort to protect those in need, the past five years have seen an increasingly aggressive campaign to clear the area of refugees. I urge France to release all arrested during the raid and take steps toward improving hospitality and living conditions for refugees.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Al Jazeera English via Flickr Creative Commons