French authorities will provide access to water for migrants camping near the English Channel port of Calais, the Interior Ministry confirmed on Monday, after an administrative court rejected a government appeal.
The Council of State, France’s top administrative court, issued a stinging judgement describing the authorities’ failure to provide water as “a shortcoming liable to expose the persons concerned to degrading or inhumane treatment.”
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said that two new accommodation centres for migrants would also be established, between 60 and 70 kilometres from the port city.
Report says both Collomb and local authorities in Calais are determined to prevent the reconstitution of a large unofficial migrant camp near the town which was demolished in October.
However, migrants hoping to find a way across the English Channel to Britain have returned to Calais since the demolition of the so-called Jungle Camp.
The Council of State found that several hundred migrants in the area, including about 100 minors, were in a “state of destitution and exhaustion.”
“The lack of access to water was exposing them to infections and psychological suffering,’’ the council said.
Collomb said that outreach measures to bring unaccompanied under-age migrants into shelters would be stepped up.
The minister also ordered police inspectorate bodies to report to him on allegations by Human Rights Watch that police were “routinely” abusing migrants in Calais.
The New York-based rights group recently alleged that security forces were using pepper spray on sleeping migrants, including children, and regularly confiscated their sleeping bags, blankets and clothing.