Target: Mayor of Calais, Natacha Bouchart
Goal: Investigate and punish police officers who are abusing immigrants and asylum seekers
Aslyum seekers and migrants are experiencing routine abuse and violence by French police in the port city of Calais, France, as they’ve told Human Rights Watch. Police officers are only allowed to use violence if their lives are in danger, and only use enough force appropriate for the situation at hand. The French government responded to these allegations by stating it would investigate the police officers involved.
Asylum seekers who have taken refuge in the port city of Calais are mainly from Sudan, Ethiopia, and Eritrea. Unfortunately, they came to France seeking protection, but many have stopped seeking refuge in the nation because of the poor treatment they’ve received from French police officers. Out of the nineteen people that Human Rights Watch interviewed, all of them had at one point been abused, including two children. These injuries included visible broken limbs, bruises, cuts, and some were pepper sprayed.
One man told the human rights group that he had been walking along the street by himself when police descended upon him. They beat him with their batons, striking his nose, and then swung at his legs which laid him flat on the ground. When the local police chief was questioned about these allegations, he denied that police officers had anything to do with the asylum seekers in Calais. Despite his statements, the French government did say it would conduct an inquiry into this matter.
Many asylum seekers in this port city are not given adequate housing. Some live on the streets in tents, others are squatters, who live in warehouses. These people do not have access to food or water, as there is little government funding. Many of these necessities are given to the people by volunteers and organizations. When weather get cold or hot, some of these refugees will not have the means to survive. Please sign this petition and tell Mayor Natacha Bouchart to investigate and prosecute police officers responsible for hurting asylum seekers and migrants.
Dear Mayor Natacha Bouchart,
By law, France and many other countries are required to give protection and housing to asylum seekers. These people are running from a conflict in their country and are seeking aid. It angers and saddens me that these people are not finding shelter in France. Instead, they are still suffering.
As a concerned human being, I urge you to thoroughly investigate and punish police officers who have beaten, abused, and harassed asylum seekers in your city. These officers are not fit for their jobs, as many of these refugees simply want to live a safe and peaceful life. Unless the refugees have done something wrong, they should not be harassed by the police. Please conduct a proper investigation and prosecute any abusive officers, and also provide refugees with proper housing and food.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Kevin B. via Wikimedia Commons