In November 2010, the activist group for foreigners’ rights, Migreurop, released its second annual report, focusing on the authorities’ fight against migration in movement, detention and deportation.
In 1999, the Sangatte refugee camp opened in northern France, and became a hotspot for controversy considering its location near the channel tunnel. Originally the camp was built to fit 600 people, but often there were nearly 2,000 people living in the camps—leading to harsh conditions, cramped space, fights and even death. Though it was arguably better for the migrants than living on the street, the camp closed in 2002.
Migreurop, a French network of activists and scholars was formed out of a response to the shocking obstacles and conditions migrants seeking asylum have to face, as was shown in the media during the time of the Sangatte refugee camp. Migreurop’s goal is to focus on ‘spreading knowledge about the generalization of retention for undocumented foreigners as well as the increasing number of camps, the latter being at the centre of EU migration policy.’
Migreurop produces a European Border report annually, and in their recent 2010 report, they say it appears European authorities are waging a war against migrants as there is a general decline in law protecting the freedom and integrity of human beings.
In this report, Migreurop highlights the fact that the third-countries are required to take in migrants from ‘chased Europe’ in consideration of cooperation agreements and development aid—all the while keeping them from knocking on Europe’s doors. In Calais, France, in Turkey and in the new member states of eastern Europe, migratory control is heavily carried out, often sending asylum seekers from country to country where they are considered unwanted. Migreurop says that a large number of exiles are living in conditions subject to chance, where they wander and endure constant hostility.
The Migreurop report focuses on the Frontex agency, the ‘European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders of the Member States of the European Union’ and their attitudes toward migrants at the Greek border, as if they were some sort of enemy.
This report shows and concludes that rights given to migrants by international treaties to leave a country and ask for protection from another, are losing their meaning when the candidates are put under house arrest or held up on their way.