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Top French court rules people in Calais exposed to “inhuman or degrading treatment”

The Conseil d'Etat ruled people in a Calais camp are exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment and should have access to drinking water, showers and toilets

France’s top administrative justice court ruled on Monday, July 31, that refugees and migrants in Calais are exposed to inhuman or degrading treatment due to their lack of access to water.

The Conseil d’Etat said in a statement that the national government and the Calais region must provide drinking water, showers and toilets to the “several hundred” people sleeping rough in Calais who have arrived since the beginning of 2017.

“The Conseil d’Etat considers that these living conditions reveal a failure by the public authorities that has exposed these people to inhuman or degrading treatment,” the court said, Reuters reported. “These shortcomings are a serious and unlawful infringement on a fundamental freedom.”

The case was an appeal by the Calais commune and the Ministry of the Interior to a June ruling by an administrative court in Lille, arguing that the decision could see a re-emergence of encampments, like the “Jungle,” which was forcibly dismantled in October.

The Conseil d’Etat upheld the judgement of the lower court, which ordered that drinking fountains, toilets and showers should be installed within ten days for people “who are in a state of deprivation and exhaustion” and who are “exposed to inhuman and degrading conditions” in the area.

The Conseil d’Etat also upheld the lower court’s decision rejecting the creation of a new permanent emergency reception centre for refugees and migrants in Calais.

However, shortly after the publication of the court’s ruling, Minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb announced that two centres to “accommodate and review the situations of these people” would be opened.

According to AFP, there are between 400 and 700 refugees and migrants in Calais, many of whom aim to travel to the UK.


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