In the framework of session n°24 of the programme "Echanges & Partenariats" (member of the IPAM network), Pierre Menzildjian went to Calais on behalf of Migreurop within the Platform of Migrant Support (PSM) from September 2021 to April 2022. During this five-month mission, he was able to investigate the evolution of the increasing militarisation of the UK-French border, as well as the impact of the Brexit on the rights of exiles.
Following the Brexit, and despite some divergences between the States in the first half of 2021 on the follow-up to the Dublin Regulation, the security approach that characterises this border has not been called into question. On the contrary, the states have strengthened their cooperation and material resources by multiplying "advanced surveillance technologies, such as drones, radar equipment, optronic binoculars and fixed cameras", in addition to barriers, walls and military devices. Increased controls have reportedly cost the lives of at least 290 people since 1999. Between 1,200 and 1,300 exiles are reportedly blocked along the coastline and suffer daily harassment, intimidation, and police violence during ever more numerous and violent forced dispersals.
Three documents were produced during this mission to continue the documentation of border violence and to measure the impact of migration policies in this area:
- a Country sheet on France (focus on the Northern border)
- a Fact sheet on the impact of Brexit on the rights of exiles
- a Fact sheet on the situation of people arriving in the UK
NB: The Nationality and Borders Bill received Royal Assent and became an Act of Parliament on 28 April 2022.
Photography : Three rows of barriers topped with barbed wire and surveillance cameras, Ouistreham port (© Pierre Menzildjian)