Socialist Worker

New migrant death exposes cruelty of Britain’s border

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2679

Refugees in northern France are have to survive in winter conditions

Refugees in northern France are have to survive in winter conditions (Pic: Socialist Worker)


A Nigerian refugee in Calais, France, has died of smoke inhalation after lighting a fire inside his tent in a desperate bid to keep warm.

His friend discovered the man’s body near the Des Huttes Road on Friday of last week.

He was one of hundreds of refugees who are forced to sleep rough in makeshift settlements across northern France and Belgium.

One of the dead refugee’s friends said, “Yesterday he was feeling so cold so he tried to heat himself up, then this morning he did not wake up.”

Aid organisations have slammed the man’s death as a product of authorities’ harassment of refugees and aid volunteers.

Care4Calais, one of the main charities working in northern France, said, “This illustrates more powerfully than ­anything we can say the brutality of the living conditions for people in Calais.

“Winter has started and they have no way to keep warm, it has been raining for days and they have nowhere to get dry.”

There were large queues near where the Nigerian man died last weekend as refugees tried to get winter clothes from aid volunteers.

Care4Calais said, “We have had days of torrential rain.

Shivering

“On every distribution we have seen people shivering and shaking without coats, their inadequate clothing soaked through. “We were able to give coats to everyone at one site in Calais, but we have hardly any left for the other places we go to in Calais, Brussels, Dunkirk and Paris.”

Refugees have fled war, dictatorship and poverty, many making the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea in small boats.

Those who make it to Europe face police brutality and squalid living conditions.

The main refugee sites in Calais and Dunkirk were evicted and levelled last month. This followed a deal between Tory home secretary Priti Patel and French interior minister Christophe Castaner to increase border security.

More repression will not stop refugees—it will only force them to take more ­dangerous routes.

This was brought home last month after the bodies of 39 people were found in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Essex.

The container had come from Zeebrugge in Belgium to the port of Purfleet in Essex. Police have confirmed that all of the people were migrants from Vietnam.

Some Vietnamese families have described how they paid tens of thousands of pounds to people ­smugglers in the hope of a better life.

People smugglers are gangsters whose business survives because of racist immigration rules.

The only solution is to open the border, giving people safe and legal routes to Britain and Europe.

Stand Up To Racism is encouraging collections in workplaces and elsewhere for its winter appeal for refugees

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