France returns hundreds of migrants to Italy's mini-Jungle camp
by Daily Sabah with Wires
ISTANBULOct 22, 2016 - 12:00 am GMT+3
by Daily Sabah with Wires
Oct 22, 2016 12:00 am
Amid worsening humanitarian conditions in a mini-jungle camp in the city of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border, 1,521 migrants who want to cross France were arrested and 94 of them were sent back to Italy in a month, officials have said.
The frontier between Italy's Ventimiglia and Menton in southern France is often called "Mini Calais" after the camp set up near the entrance to the Channel Tunnel linking France and Britain. Hundreds of migrants try to cross the border by foot or by hiding in vehicles every week. Each night people set out from Red Cross and Caritas camps on the Italian side in the hope that they can negotiate the five to six kilometers of mountain passes and tunnels and enter France unnoticed.
More than 145,000 migrants have arrived in Italy from North Africa so far this year, and European Union law says they must apply for asylum in the country where they first enter the bloc. But many migrants do not want to stay in Italy and seek to continue their journey onward to other member states.
International human rights organizations have accused France of creating a mini-jungle camp in the city of Ventimiglia on the French-Italian border and blocking refugees' entry into France. "Refugees' living conditions in the Italian town of Ventimiglia are getting worse," said Amnesty International and Caritas Internationalis.
More than 24,000 refugees have been residing in the Italian town since late September as France refused their entry into the country, as reported by French newspaper Le Figaro. French officials argue that refugees should remain at the Italian side of the border under the Dublin regulations. The Dublin Regulation decrees that asylum seekers must apply in the country through which they first entered the EU.
According to Italy's interior ministry, about 124,500 migrants have arrived since the start of 2016, just slightly more than the 122,000 recorded for the whole of last year.
French President Francois Hollande has vowed to close the so-called Jungle camp. Though previous efforts to disperse the camp have failed, France is expected to move the migrants from their makeshift houses next week.
France's Alain Juppé will move the border with Britain from Calais to southern England if he wins power next year, setting up a potential battle with London over immigration following the Brexit vote, the British Guardian newspaper reported. Juppe, who is on course to win the center-right's presidential ticket and favorite to win power in next year's national election, said he would seek to overturn a treaty which effectively pushes the British frontier to France. "The first thing is to denounce the Le Touquet accords," Juppe told the Guardian newspaper in an interview. "We cannot accept making the selection on French territory of people that Britain does or doesn't want. It's up to Britain to do that job," he was quoted as saying. In 2003, Britain and France signed an agreement known as Le Touquet accords which allows British officials to check passports in France and vice versa.