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In a Paris parking zone, migrants survive out of sight

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Her child might effectively be born and develop up there, in the course of the tents, and that is her best concern. The Ivorian Ange, eight months pregnant, is among the exiles who “will not be even allowed on the road”. So she sleeps hidden in a Parisian parking zone, reworked right into a camp.

Each night time for the previous few weeks, Ange, who refused to provide her identify in order “to not fear the household”, rushes into the parking zone, a stone’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, painstakingly climbs the round ramp reserved for vehicles and takes her place in one of many forty tents on the platform, the place about 70 migrants stay, hidden from view.

An improvised kitchenette, two bogs, just a few electrical retailers, a automobile area that serves as storage for suitcases, a few of that are mounted on wheeled carts. Above all, a bearable temperature, whereas it’s unfavorable exterior, on this March 1st.

“It is higher than being exterior,” sums up the 29-year-old lady, who has “at all times been on the road” since she arrived in France in December. “Being housed is my best want. However after I name 115 (the emergency quantity devoted to the homeless, editor’s be aware), they inform me it is full.”

Simply the day earlier than, for her being pregnant, she went to the Parisian hospital of Pitié Salpêtrière. “However the physician cannot do something. All I need is for my daughter to not sleep exterior,” she flinches, sitting in her tent.


The place, made accessible to the affiliation Utopia 56 by a non-public particular person, is as uncommon as it’s symptomatic of the “political will to +invisibilize+ exiled folks,” says Nikolai Posner, a supervisor of the group.

“It is not a four-star resort, it is a spot of transition, which permits us to supply a bit dignity to those folks (…) in order that they will relaxation and focus on their reconstruction”, he justifies.

Utopia 56 believes that “police harassment is put in place so that individuals don’t settle within the public area”. “Immediately they’re even forbidden to be on the road”, Nikolaï Posner denounces.

The affiliation estimates that there are “hundreds” of exiles hidden in squats or locations like this parking zone, for the reason that dismantling of camps within the north-east of Paris, synchronous with the authorities’ need to not enable different “fixation factors” to be arrange, since 2020.

End result: “We depend 400 migrants on the road in the intervening time within the Paris area, whereas the arrivals stay vital. We’re conscious that that is very underestimated”, agrees Delphine Rouilleault, director of France terre d’asile, whose counts are a reference for the authorities.

A need to “disperse” that’s accompanied by one other “actuality”, agrees Pascal Brice, the pinnacle of the Federation of Actors of Solidarity (FAS), which incorporates the primary organizations serving to the homeless: “Now we have accommodations that finish their settlement of emergency lodging and put folks again on the road with the intention to accommodate guests to the Olympic Video games.

Closed door?

“The director of the French Workplace of Immigration and Integration (Ofii) Didier Leschi defends the truth that “75% of asylum seekers are sheltered”, together with 1,800 folks “directed to the area every month”.

Nevertheless, a whole lot of individuals stay with out a answer, like Khadija Koné, a 26-year-old mom from Côte d’Ivoire. Each night for the previous two months, the identical ritual: wandering the streets throughout the day, till the gate of the parking zone opens round 8 pm.

“The road may be very onerous,” she stammers, within the tent she shares together with her 3-year-old daughter. Her blue t-shirt, khaki pants, and vest are “all she owns” after fleeing “abuse” in Libya and Tunisia.

Like her, Sima Hamala, a 27-year-old Malian newcomer, finds that the place, as fundamental as it’s, gives “the necessities: to be sheltered, to have the ability to relaxation, to have a scorching espresso.

He too has solely identified the road in Paris, together with his spouse, after a journey by Africa, the Mediterranean and Europe.

In April, the affiliation must go away the parking zone.

Sima Hamala found it simply now and smiles with concern: “In the event that they shut, it is going to be very, very tough for us”.