Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Migrants : 6 questions on the wall of Calais – The Obs

The outskirts of Calais were already disfigured by high fences topped with barbed wire. There will now be a wall. Since Tuesday, the building is in course of construction at the entrance of the city. A wall of concrete a mile long and four metres high, intended to protect access to the port by preventing the intrusion of migrants on the ground floor.

The wall is built on the by-pass port, a few tens of meters from the “jungle”, the refugee camp where currently, between 7,000 and 10,000 people are surviving in conditions that are particularly at risk. It will prolong about thirty miles of fencing already erected around the port.


1Why is this wall ?

the prefecture of The Pas-de-Calais wishes to put an end to the attempts of the migrants, who improvise dams to risk their lives to climb in trucks en route to England, only a few hundred metres from the ferry terminal. The figures of the prefecture evoke 22.000 intrusion on the ring road for the single month of June.

Each evening, the A16 highway and the bypass port became the scene of police response that fails to contain these intrusions. Several people have died in these desperate acts.

the construction of The wall also responds to a request from the England that, with the agreements of the Le to be signed by Nicolas Sarkozy in 2003, can manage the control of its borders from France.

2Who pays ?

The cost of the construction of this wall – “green side” of the movement – is valued at 2.7 million euros. It is the United Kingdom, which will finance the entire wall. “We put the fences, now we make a wall,” said Robert Goodwill, uk Immigration minister, to mps in English, confirming the 1.9 million pounds (2.7 million euros) disbursements.

England had already funded the fences installed in 2015, for a sum of 15 million euros.

3What is auditing ?

The works were entrusted to the CONSTRUCTION company “operating Company of the Ports of the Strait”. The book must rest on metal supports in which will be built of concrete panels. But it is not a simple wall of concrete : all will be smooth on its outer face and is equipped with a system of video-surveillance and lighting masts. Jean-Marc Puissereau, CEO of the port of Calais welcomes :

“This wall will prevent migrants to invade the highway all night. They put tree trunks, branches, gas cylinders… We cannot continue to suffer these repeated damage.”

4When will it be operational ?

the completion of The project is expected before the end of the year. The construction of a “wall of noise” was announced several months ago. Preparatory work had also begun from the month of August.

Many among those who supported this project doubt now of its usefulness while Bernard Cazeneuve, minister of the Interior, announced on September 2, the evacuation and the closure of the slum “as quickly as possible”. Natacha Bouchart, the mayor LR of Calais, has said :

“If the dismantling of the ‘jungle’ as announced by the minister proves to be effective in the coming weeks, a green wall has no reason to be.”

Natacha Bouchart, the mayor “tightrope walker” de-Calais

5How effective ?

Fences and walls have “sealed” the points of passage to England. The site of Eurotunnel and the port of Calais are now virtually inaccessible. The migrants of Calais, so close to the goal, do not waive, however, not. Maya Konforti of the Auberge des migrants, explains :

“there are fewer and fewer opportunities to pass, then the risk increases.”

In the jungle of Calais : “The migrants have their hands torn to the bone”

The associations present in Calais regret such an investment for a piece of equipment that they believe is totally ineffective, considering that the wall will only refer to the attempts of intrusion in trucks on the A16 motorway, with an even greater danger because of the speed.

6What message ?

With this wall, the public authorities aim to send a strong signal to deter candidates for illegal emigration to the United Kingdom. A signal, but also a symbol which creates controversy.

In England, a citizen petition has been launched to stop a construction that “useless” and denounces the establishment of the “first boundary wall built in Europe since the Berlin wall.”

Louis Morice


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