Aid groups in France stage migrant campsite event to highlight plight

About 100 adolescent migrants under threat of homelessness will be able to stay at Paris site

Migrant camp appears in the centre of Paris

Migrant camp appears in the centre of Paris
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Aid groups in France have set up a campsite for about 100 adolescent migrants in Paris to raise awareness of the plight of young people who often have nowhere to stay.

Volunteers from Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and four other humanitarian groups erected the tents at a square near Place de la Republique, a central plaza that is often a staging point for mass protests.

The migrants are drawn from the ranks of hundreds of unaccompanied children who have reached France and are looking for the right to stay in the country permanently.

Organisers estimated roughly 300 foreign minors live in or near Paris.

“They have to rely on help from associations for lodging, food and medical care,” Caroline Douay of MSF said.

“Officials in Paris and the surrounding areas have to assume their responsibilities,” she said.

Andre, from Ivory Coast, said he was 17. “I arrived in Paris seven months ago after going through Libya and spending three days on an inflatable boat in the Mediterranean before reaching Lampedusa.”

French officials ruled he was not a minor, a decision he has appealed against. In the meantime, he has been sleeping in a hotel arranged by aid groups.

Numerous camps have been set up in Paris in the past few years by migrants hoping for asylum, but these are often cleared out by police.

Minor migrants sit near tents at a migrant campsite housing about 100 adolescents, installed by Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF - Doctors Without Borders) and four other humanitarian groups, in Paris, France, June 30, 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
The migrant campsite is near Place de la Republique in Paris. Reuters