Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/23 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/23 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/23 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/23 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/23 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/23 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/23 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/23 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/23 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/23 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 01/21 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 01/21 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 01/22 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 01/21 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 01/22 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 01/21 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 01/22 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 01/21 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
France

French police accused of violence against child refugees in Calais

media French police prevent migrants from accessing a food distribution point in Calais on 1 June 2017. Reuters/Pascal Rossignol

French police have been accused of "unprovoked and extreme violence" against refugees, including many children, in the Channel port of Calais in a report to be released on Monday.

Refugees have been subject to "unprovoked and extreme violence and bullying" by French police officers in Calais, including beatings and destruction of belongings, according to the Refugee Rights Data Project (RRDP) report.

“A number of accounts appear to suggest that police violence .... sometimes takes disproportionate and life-threatening forms," it states.

A year on from the demolition of the notorious Calais Jungle, the number of displaced people still in the area is estimated at 2,000.

The methods used were often unconventional. We found underage girls who told us that the police had taken them away and driven them for some time and left them at night in remote places, so they were lost in the middle of nowhere. And the police would wake them up with tear gas or pepper spray and spray their sleeping bags and sometimes take their shoes from their feet and make them run away into the cold and wet.
RRDP director Marta Welander

RRDP interviewed 223 refugees around the Calais area for this report, published on Monday.

They found that the methods of intimidation and violence were often unconventional, including spraying sleeping bags with tear gas so that they could no longer be used and the confiscation of shoes.

A 16-year-old Eritrean boy told researchers of witnessing a baton attack so sustained he thought the victim would be killed.

In another account, a 17-year-old Eritrean girl told how police detained her, then drove her to a remote location at 6.00pm, abandoning her to walk three hours back to Calais. She told researchers she felt scared as it was dark and she did not know the way.

Tear gas in her face

Separately, a 25-year-old woman in Calais told researchers she saw another woman of her age being sprayed with tear gas by police.

“There were two policemen surrounding her. She turned away from the one in front and the one behind sprayed her in the face,” she said.

“They sprayed for a long time and then when she turned away the one in front of her sprayed her in the face also. After the second spray she fell over, when she got up they sprayed again. She ran for about 15 minutes but couldn’t see anything."

The child refugees also told of 4.00am police raids that, according to them, always involved tear gas or pepper spray, with most saying their sleeping bags were sprayed to make them unusable.

“The police "spray tear gas in my face," a 16-year-old boy from Afghanistan said. "They take my blanket, sometimes my shoes, then they beat us with sticks and we run away.”

Many reported having their shoes confiscated and having to run away barefoot in the wet and cold.

Other testimonies reveal refugees have been held for long periods of time in the local police station, with one family saying they were detained for an entire day, during which time they were given no food or clean nappies for their young baby.

Of those questioned, nine out of 10 said they did not feel safe in Calais and the same proportion said they had experienced police violence.

When confronted with the new allegations by the UK's Independent newspaper, the Calais regional authority referred to Interior Minister Gérard Collomb's earlier order to police chiefs in the region to remind officers of the regulations they must comply with, especially while dismantling unofficial camps.

Related
 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.