The situation at the border continues to be intolerable. The last few weeks have been characterised by quite a few people staying at our spot every evening, either to walk the Passo della Morte (footpath to France) during the night, or to spend the night there.
The nights are still very cold, we try to provide blankets and warm clothes. The situation is further aggravated by rain. There are very few covered/roofed sleeping facilities in Ventimiglia.
Last week, almost all trains to France were already checked in Ventimiglia, so it was almost impossible to board the train in the first hand. Because so many people are stuck here right now, tensions arise, which we also feel at the Breakfast spot. All the pushed back people coming to our spot have tried to pass by foot. Basically, fewer people have come from the border police as a result and more have come by bus or on foot from Ventimiglia. Last week’s figures will be published in the next report.
People keep telling us about insults from the police. On several occasions, people on the move were defamed by the police. Women were called “little whores” and men “son of bitches”.
Covid is still very present and again creates hurdles. Not only missing documents, but also a missing PCR test prevents entry and is justified on the “refus d’entrée” with “danger to the country”. Bar Hobbit is still closed, and it is still unclear when or if it will reopen.
On the one hand, Covid leads under the pretext of health for more controls. De facto, however, only BI*POC are controlled. Racial profiling is practised here at the highest level. On the other hand, the direct consequence of the controls is the detention of too many people in containers where no distance can be kept. A very unhygienic situation aggravates the situation. As already told in a previous report the court in Nice has called the handling of people at the border illegal. Nevertheless, the situation remains unchanged.
The photos were sent to us by a person who just came out of the container. He will also send these pictures to the French Minister of Health.
Last week, an unusually large number of women and children came to our place. Many of them decided against being hosted by Caritas in a house for women and families. One possible reason for this could be that they are trapped in women trafficking circles. To sleep in a safe space could be seen as a try to escape which could be punished by the traffickers and so is a danger for the women and their children. There is a squat in Ventimiglia where smugglers offer people on the run a place to sleep for money. According to stories, there are no proper sleeping facilities there, clothes are used to make fires and the house is full of trash and faeces due to a lack of toilets. We will write and publish an article about the situation of women trafficking in the border area as soon as possible.
Furthermore, an incident has accompanied us in the last few days. An 11-year-old child was separated from his mother while trying to cross the border by train. Most likely smugglers had previously hidden the family on the train in different places and only the one child was not discovered by the police. It travelled unaccompanied to Nice. In the meantime, it was accompanied to Paris by a person known to the mother. The mother is still in Italy.
In addition to the families, we met many unaccompanied minors. Some of them got pushed back more than 5 times. We were also told that the police had destroyed documents which proof the underage of minors.
Until half a year ago, a document for minors could be issued through our lawyer by means of an urgent procedure. This had to be taken into account by the border police and enabled them to cross the border legally. In the meantime, the situation that minors are forced to live on the street is declared as non-urgent. Therefore, urgent procedures are no longer feasible and legal border crossing is almost impossible.
Many of the minors have no proof of age. Because of this, they are deprived of some structures such as sleeping places here on site, as in many cases these can only be claimed with official documents.
Here are the figures for the last two weeks. As always, we want to remind you that these figures are incomplete and can only give a rough overview of the situation at the border.
For the 19th of March the numbers got lost.
4.3.: A lot of people got released after the last bus and decided to stay at breakfast to sleep.
10.03.: A man from Sudan arrived at breakfast who had bruises and open wounds at his knee. He told us he was walking the mountain path (passo della morte). As the police came, he wanted to escape but a policeman grabbed him at the ankle and pushed him on the floor. He had to stay 15 hours in the container, with no medical care, food or water provided.
Thanks to everyone continuously following our reports and interested in the people that we meet. Though you are far away, it makes everyone visible again who’s been left alone by the italian and french government and mistreated and often violated by the french border police.
For more information or any questions contact the E-Mail below. We are also always happy for receiving money donations, to keep up our work and for new volunteers arriving.
until soon – kesha niya <3
Bank account: GLS Bank
Depositor: Frederik Bösing
IBAN: DE32 4306 0967 2072 1059 00