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French President Francois Hollande vows to dismantle Calais migrant camp, relocate refugees

The southern half of the?Jungle?, as the camp is notoriously known, was brought down in April this year. Photograph: (Getty)

WION Indre-et-Loire, Francia Sep 25, 2016, 02.27 AM (IST)
French President Francois Hollande has confirmed the plans to dismantle the migrant camp in Calais in northern France and relocating thousands refugees living there to reception centres across the country, international news agency AFP reported today. 

During a visit to France's one of the 164 reception centres, Hollande said that the conditions inside the camp “are not acceptable, especially for the people who fled war to live there”. 

Stressing that France should show that it is capable of being "dignified, humane and responsible” when it comes to treating refugees, he said they could not have such camps in their country. He will pay the camp a visit on Monday. 

The “Jungle”, as the camp is notoriously known, is home to as many as 9,000 refugees. The southern half of the camp was brought down in February and March this year but its population has since then doubled, according to media reports. 

Several media reports also point out that reception and orientation centres across the country will accommodate asylum-seekers for over five months while their cases are studied by the authorities. Those not seeking asylum will be deported. 

Pressure from the Right wing
 
Pressure from conservative predecessor Nicolas Sarkozy and a far-right leader Marine Le Pen is pushing Hollande to take an adamant stand on the issue of migrants, AFP reported today. 

The international news agency observes that "Illegal migration" has "plagued France under Hollande's four-year-long tenure", prompting the authorities to step up measures. 

Meanwhile, Sarkozy, who is bracing up for a comeback as the president, said that once immigrants are granted citizenship “they should live like the French”. 

German chancellor Angela Merkel has also said that Europe should work out a deal with the third-world countries to send back the migrants who “do not qualify for asylum”. 

The decision to dispatch refugees to orientation centres has sparked protests among the far-right conservative leaders who fear “graver consequences” of keeping refugees in their country. 

According to a UN report, more than 300,000 refugees have crossed the Mediterranean this year with thousands drowning in the attempt. 

(WION with inputs from agencies)
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