French government condemns refugee children to homelessness


This 12 February 2018 France 24 video says about itself:

France: Young migrants brave Paris winter alone

RAP: Saliou is rapping in Wolof, the language he spoke growing up in Senegal. The 16-year-old dreams of becoming a rapper. Six months ago, he left his family and friends in Dakar. He crossed the Sahara and then the Mediterranean before reaching Sicily and finally Paris.

In the middle of winter: “I sleep in a cardboard box at night… and wake up early in the morning. I walk around the streets of Paris. It’s not easy! It’s hard.”

Charities which work with migrants and refugees say at least one hundred unaccompanied minors are sleeping on the streets of Paris.

Saliou does what he can to pass the time. “I don’t know anything or anyone here. I’m alone in Paris, I don’t have my father, my mother, my big brothers or my younger brothers. Only God protects me.”

Saliou showed his birth certificate to the authorities… If he can prove he’s 16, he’ll be eligible for child protection. “This is my birth certificate. I showed it, we spoke for an hour and a half and they told me: “I’m doubtful”. His claim was turned down, the person who interviewed him at the child protection unit wasn’t convinced he was under 18. So his future’s uncertain.

Where are you sleeping tonight? “I don’t know, maybe in a shelter/hotel or in the streets.” Saliou managed to find a room in a homeless shelter for the next two nights. After that, he’s likely to end up back in the streets.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Paris condemns 200 migrant children to roaming the streets’

Today, 9:30 am

In Paris about 200 migrant children are currently wandering around without parents. They sleep on the street and receive no shelter. The Paris authorities usually label them as adults and therefore they have no right to shelter.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) writes this in a report about this group of children. The human rights organization spoke with officials, lawyers and aid workers. “And we also interviewed 49 minors who came from countries such as Afghanistan, Ivory Coast and Mali“, says Bénédicte Jeannerod, director of HRW in France. “The procedures for those children in Paris are not good, the assessments are going too fast and civil servants are biased.”

Too good at French

According to the organization, minor migrants in Paris hear almost always to that they are of age. This often happens immediately after entering an office. Civil servants see the child and immediately conclude, without investigation, that the minor is an adult.

“There are also children who tell officials that they have already worked,

and French authorities have apparently never heard about child labour

or that they have decided themselves to flee their homeland”, says Jeannerod. “And all they say is a reason for the officials to conclude: then you are already grown up.” A 15-year-old boy from Ivory Coast said that he was also considered to be an adult. “The one who spoke to me said that I spoke French too well, because I could answer all the questions, I had to be an adult, but I had eight years of French lessons at school,

in Ivory Coast, formerly a French colony; now a French neo-colony with invading French soldiers

so of course I could answer those questions.”

If a migrant is a minor, then the French capital has the duty to provide shelter and help. If a child is labeled as an adult, that is not mandatory. “The authorities do everything they can to ensure that they do not have to accept the children”, Jeannerod says.

“But France has the means and also the duty to protect all children, regardless of whether they are migrants”, says Human Rights Watch. “Only if there are very clear indications that a child is lying about his age research should be done, but now the authorities assume that migrant children are adults”, Jeannerod said.

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French governmental homophobia


This video says about itself:

Gay Pride Paris 2017 – Marche des Fiertés LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisex, Transgender) Paris 2017 on Saturday June 24, 2017 from Place de la Concorde Paris to Place de la Republique Paris, France.

From Pink News in Britain:

French official sparks outrage by telling gay couples they can only adopt ‘atypical’ children

19th June 2018, 4:38 PM

A French adoption official has caused controversy by saying that gay and lesbian couples are only able to adopt “damaged” children.

Pascale Lemare, who is the adoption services head in the Seine-Maritime region of Normandy, said that heterosexual couples would be prioritised for adoptions in the region.

According to AFP, Lemare made the comments in an interview with local radio on Tuesday.

During the interview with France Bleu, Lemare said that gay couples were likely to be left with the children that heterosexual couples did not want to adopt due to their age, size or even their disability.

“Children that no one wants – there are people who don’t want to adopt children who are too damaged, too psychologically damaged, too big, or handicapped”, she explained.

Lemare was then asked whether it was more difficult for gay and lesbian couples to adopt younger or healthier children in the region.

The official replied: “There are parents who correspond better to the required criteria.” …

She then stated that gay and lesbian couples were “a little atypical, you might say, with regard to social norms and biological norms.

“If their plan includes children with atypical profiles… if homosexual couples have open expectations, they can indeed adopt a child.”

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The statements from Normandy do not stand alone. Another French radio station revealed that in Northeast France there is an adoption agency that says aloud that they prefer heterosexuals. “They said: we have nothing against gay parents, but if a husband and wife report then they will get priority”, says [NOS correspondent] Renout.

Angry comments

In France there has been an angry response to the news coverage. Advocacy groups say that it is a much broader problem, and that it is therefore difficult for gays and lesbians to adopt children. Renout: “The association of gay parents says: this is homophobia, this is punishable and they have filed a complaint with the courts.” …

Homosexual couples are allowed to adopt children in France since 2013 without any conditions.

A measure by the then Socialist Party government, before the now ‘centristMacron government. Fiercely resisted by the ‘moderate’ right and by the extreme right.

‘French police abusing refugee children’


This video says about itself:

People Without Papers: How France Handles Its Refugees

1 December 2017

People Without Papers: Despite dwindling publicity, France remains a major destination for thousands of refugees in Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis. This report investigates their plight, as they face police evictions and general hostility.

“I came here to France but I experienced unspeakable problems on my way here”, says 24-year-old Afghan refugee Mustafa. “I have made an application for asylum, and the French government told me to wait for 18 months”, he says. There are many like Mustafa for whom French asylum remains a distant reward. In the meantime, rough sleeping and evasion of a frequently brutal French police, using tear gas and shooting rubber bullets, are a daily peril for those fleeing war.

“The methods that the French police are using are criminal”, says a ‘Help Refugees’ volunteer. Following the destruction of migrant camps, many are left without shelter. “No house, no tent, no nothing”, says Kurdish refugee Zirack, sifting through a deserted camp in the woods. “It’s a big problem for all children. But what can I do? It’s my country’s problem. I can’t stay in my country because my country’s a big, big problem“. For many of the migrants stuck in limbo throughout the camps, the prospect of a better life in the UK means risking all to cross the Channel.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Oxfam: French police are mistreating migrant children

The French border police mistreats migrant children physically and emotionally, forges their papers and puts them on trains to Italy illegally. This is what Oxfam Novib writes in a report. The organization says that children are locked up in cells without food, water or blankets before the police return them. They are also not assigned official guardians.

The organization writes that this concerns refugees and migrants from crowded Italian shelters, which France sends back to Italy. The French authorities are accused of forging the ages of the migrants and pretending that the children want to return to Italy.

Examples of abuses in the report include cases where agents cut off the soles of children’s shoes and of how policemen steal the SIM cards from phones. They also write about an Eritrean young woman, who is said to have been forced to walk 40 kilometers on an unpaved border road to Italy, with a six-week-old baby on her arm.

Children, women and men fleeing persecution and war should not be victims of mistreatment and neglect by the French and Italian authorities“, says Evelien van Roemburg of Oxfam. “People who want to apply for asylum in a country where their family resides are constantly being thwarted.” …

The Oxfam report coincides with tensions between Italy and France over the Italian refusal of a ship with migrants. The French president Macron calls the migration policy of the new Italian government cynical because of this.

On this point, President Macron is correct. However, what about Macron‘s own police?

USA: Attorney General Jeff Sessions and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders both cited the Bible on Thursday to justify the Trump administration’s policy of separating migrant children from their families at the southern border: here.

French President Macron’s Internet censorship plans


This 18 June 2017 video is called Theresa May & Emmanuel Macron Scheme To Censor Internet.

By Alex Lantier in France:

Anti-“fake news” bill gives French state unchecked Internet censorship powers

8 June 2018

On Thursday, the National Assembly began debating French President Emmanuel Macron’s draconian bill empowering the state to censor the Internet during the three months prior to any national election. The bill marks a vast new attack on freedom of speech, amid a wave of threats to Internet freedom worldwide based on the pretext of fighting “fake news”.

The bill would allow candidates and political parties to take articles and Internet statements to court, where judges could force Internet service providers to censor material by declaring that they believed it to be “fake news”. Due to the French president’s broad powers to name and control the promotion of top magistrates, the French judiciary is widely acknowledged to be dependent on the executive. The bill thus places enormous power over the Internet in the hands of the president.

The bill defines “fake news” not as information that is false, but as “any allegation or implying of a fact without providing verifiable information that makes it plausible.”

This anti-democratic definition poses vast dangers to legitimate journalism and political activity by removing any obligation on the state to prove that a statement is, in fact, false and harmful before taking legal action to suppress it. It lets judges order that legally protected speech be censored simply by asserting that they personally do not believe it to be convincing. It also allows judges to censor any article based on confidential sources such as whistleblowers on the grounds that the information contained in the article is not “verifiable.”

The bill grants the Superior Audiovisual Council (CSA) powers to censor and suspend television stations that are “controlled by a foreign state or under its influence.” This paves the way for the banning of media outlets such as the Russian state-backed RT and Sputnik.

While the bill purports to limit its reach to the three months before elections, a press campaign is underway to demand that no time limit be placed on these powers. When asked by “20 Minutes” whether he supported the bill, Sorbonne Professor François Jost replied: “The real question is why would this law go into effect only during election campaigns… Claiming that you can just tell any old lie at a certain time but not at another is absurd.”

In France, opposition parties across the spectrum of official politics have criticized Macron’s bill, aware not only that censorship is unpopular, but also that Macron could turn it against them. … [French communist party] deputy Elsa Faucillon warned that it “set up the idea of an official truth.” Right-wing parliamentarian Christian Jacob said Macron was establishing “thought police.”

The bill moves France toward a situation where the state can censor the Internet at will. The justification advanced by Macron and his supporters in an attempt to give the bill a quasi-democratic veneer is the claim that Macron suffered intolerable damage to his reputation when his electoral rival in last year’s presidential run-off, Le Pen, alleged in a TV debate that Macron had a hidden offshore bank account in the Bahamas. This is a cynical pretext and political lie.

Le Pen’s allegation did not do significant damage to Macron. Voters largely shrugged it off and Macron won the election by a large margin. Now, however, broad sections of the press are trying to whip up outrage at the fact that a neo-fascist made an unsourced accusation to justify an attack on the freedom of expression of the entire population.

France does not need to pass a new law to make publishing false and defamatory statements illegal. An 1881 law already provides for heavy fines for making such statements.

What is driving Macron’s moves to censor the Internet is not outrage at a few statements by Le Pen or RT, but fear of the growth of social anger and anti-war sentiment. Ruling circles want to dictate the political views to which masses of workers have access. This drive to remove oppositional information and opinions from social media and the Internet has taken its most virulent form in the collaboration of US tech firms such as Google and Facebook with the US government.

On April 25 of last year, Google publicly announced that it would implement an algorithm to exclude “fake news” from its search results and then blacklisted socialist and anti-war web sites, including the World Socialist Web Site. It refused to respond to press inquiries, including from the New York Times, as to whether it was deliberately targeting the WSWS, whose traffic coming from Google searches plummeted. However, later that year Google executives publicly boasted that they aimed to “improve” search results by blocking material from RT and Sputnik News.

At the beginning of 2018, Facebook announced that it would de-prioritize political news on its user feeds in favor of “personal moments.” It said this would make Facebook “good for your well-being and for society.”

French officials planning mass Internet censorship are no less terrified of public opinion. As Macron was preparing his censorship bill earlier this year, a press campaign erupted denouncing the French people for believing in “conspiracy theories”. The so-called “conspiracy theory” that angered the press the most was the belief that NATO governments, including that of France, work with the Islamist networks that carried out terror attacks in Paris in 2015 and elsewhere in Europe since then.

That US and European intelligence agencies have poured billions of dollars into the arming of Islamist militias that serve as proxies in their war for regime-change in Syria is, however, not a paranoid “conspiracy theory” or “fake news” produced by “Kremlin trolls”, but a widely-reported fact.

Official circles are concerned that broader and broader layers of the public are concluding that the “war on terror” and the French state of emergency imposed after the terror attacks are based on lies. Mass protests erupted in Barcelona last year shortly after the terror attack there, in which demonstrators denounced Madrid’s complicity with the terrorists.

Macron’s moves to censor the Internet are directly bound up with this growth of political opposition and a revival of class struggle. Mass strikes have broken out against Macron’s austerity policies among rail, airline and energy workers … . Strikes are breaking out across Europe, from teachers and rail workers in Britain to airline workers in Spain and metal and autoworkers in Germany and Turkey.

The United States has seen a wave of teachers’ strikes and protests organized by rank-and-file educators …

Fifty years after the May-June 1968 general strike brought French capitalism to the verge of collapse, the ruling class again lives in fear. Macron is well aware of the findings of the European Union’s “Generation What” poll. It showed that after a decade of austerity, over 60 percent of youth in Europe are ready to participate in a “mass uprising” against the established order. Moreover, two thirds of the French population say the class struggle is a daily reality of life—20 percent more than on the eve of the 1968 general strike.

Under such conditions, imperialist policy makers and strategists increasingly view public opinion in military terms. One EU strategist wrote four years ago that since “the percentage of the population who [are] poor and frustrated will continue to be very high, the tensions between this world and the world of the rich [will] continue to increase, with corresponding consequences. Since we will hardly be able to overcome the origin of this problem… i.e., the functional defects of society, we will have to protect ourselves more strongly.”

Macron’s attempt to censor the Internet in the guise of fighting “fake news” is a key part of the desperate, anti-democratic maneuvers of the ruling elite as it seeks to save itself from the growing threat of social revolution.

The author also recommends:

Amid state censorship campaign, French media denounce “conspiracy theories”
[21 January 2018]

Despite rising social opposition after both houses of parliament voted to privatize the French National Railways (SNCF), French President Emmanuel Macron plans to intensify austerity and develop closer ties with the far right. This is what emerged from Macron’s speech to French health insurers in Montpellier on Wednesday and then during a trip to Vendée to meet far-right royalist politician Philippe de Villiers: here.

Persecution of refugees in France


This video says about itself:

People Without Papers: How France Handles Its Refugees

1 December 2017

People Without Papers: Despite dwindling publicity, France remains a major destination for thousands of refugees in Europe’s ongoing migrant crisis. This report investigates their plight, as they face police evictions and general hostility.

“I came here to France but I experienced unspeakable problems on my way here“, says 24-year-old Afghan refugee Mustafa. “I have made an application for asylum, and the French government told me to wait for 18 months”, he says. There are many like Mustafa for whom French asylum remains a distant reward. In the meantime, rough sleeping and evasion of a frequently brutal French police, using tear gas and shooting rubber bullets, are a daily peril for those fleeing war.

“The methods that the French police are using are criminal”, says a ‘Help Refugees’ volunteer. Following the destruction of migrant camps, many are left without shelter. “No house, no tent, no nothing”, says Kurdish refugee Zirack, sifting through a deserted camp in the woods. “It’s a big problem for all children. But what can I do? It’s my country’s problem. I can’t stay in my country because my country’s a big, big problem”. For many of the migrants stuck in limbo throughout the camps, the prospect of a better life in the UK means risking all to cross the Channel.

By Athiyan Silva in France:

Persecution of refugees mounts after passage of French asylum law

21 May 2018

Since the passage last month of President Emmanuel Macron’s draconian bill on asylum and immigration in the French National Assembly, there is mounting anger and fear among refugees and undocumented immigrants in France. The law effectively undermines the right to asylum, by drastically cutting the time refugees have to appeal deportation orders, while increasing the length of time police can detain refugees.

Now, refugees fleeing imperialist wars waged by NATO countries including France—such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, and Mali—are increasingly angry and afraid of French police. Under these conditions, WSWS reporters visited the makeshift camps in Paris, where 3,000 refugees, mostly youth born after the Gulf War against Iraq in 1991, are stacked together in inhuman conditions.

The first large refugee camp is composed of hundreds of two-person tents, lined up side by side like small nests along the Paris ring road (périphérique) and under nearby road bridges near La Villette park in the 19th district of Paris. The environment is contaminated: Mattresses are dirty and infested with bedbugs, there are only two toilets and two small water pipes for hundreds of people, and the refugees are forced to wait for volunteers to distribute food, clothes and other essential items. Many people use cold water from the Canal Saint-Denis to brush their teeth and clean their clothes.

Refugees at the camp—who largely come from Somalia, Sudan and Eritrea—were very reluctant to speak and afraid of police repression. One refugee told the WSWS, “The government has nothing to do to help any of us. Look here! This is the real Paris. We are sleeping in the streets in terrible conditions!”

Most of the refugees have lost hope that they could obtain a permanent resident visa and try to obtain a better life in France, and are angry at the French political establishment. One man from Somalia said only, “We are in the street, there is nothing for us here, God alone must save us.”

The second large camp was set up along the Saint-Martin canal in the 10th district of Paris, approximately 2 kilometres from the La Villette camp. Most of the refugees staying in this camp are Afghan men aged between 18 and 35, who are forced to live in the camps under constant fear of police harassment and repression. They cannot walk around or sleep peacefully, either by day or by night.

A 26-year-old Afghan man who lost five family members in a US attack on Jalalabad last year spoke to the WSWS. He said, “I have lost my family. The Americans came at night and shot my father, mother, two brothers and my sister. When this occurred, I was at my uncle’s house, and they also killed 30 people in my village. After that, I left Afghanistan.”

Asked about what the French government has done to help refugees, he said: “I am coming here to save my life, not to earn money, but the government does not help us at all. Here there is no good life, no good food. If you walk on the streets, the police demands your papers; if we don’t have them, they take us to a police station and put us in custody for 5 to 6 hours in a small room with a smelly toilet.”

He added, “Some people bring us food and other items every evening and morning. With their help, we are able to continue to live here.”

However, police are increasingly persecuting and fining volunteers who provide food, water and other essential items to refugees in Paris. Last month, Solidarité-Migrants volunteer Laurence Ariste told the media: “They gave us two fines of €135 each, because we had two cars. They said you can’t distribute here. We’re a small organisation. We don’t have much money. If they give us these fines every time we can’t continue like this.”

Also, last year, police violently expelled people from refugee camps in the streets of the Porte de la Chapelle area of Paris, stealing refugees’ belongings, including sleeping bags and blankets. Men, women and children were tear-gassed by police.

Only two weeks ago, two young refugees without papers drowned and died in the Saint-Martin and Saint-Denis canals; one was from Somalia and the other from Afghanistan.

Minors struggle in particular to prove they are under the age of 18 in age assessment centres. The rejection rate of youth without accepted government photo ID at the age assessment centres is around 80 percent. Many minors spend months trying to prove their age, under conditions where it is impossible to obtain appropriate documents from war-torn countries, and end up on the streets after government authorities refuse them housing.

Under Socialist Party (PS) Mayor Anne Hidalgo, the Porte de la Chapelle welcome area (CPA), commonly known as “la Bulle” (the bubble) after the previous PS national government opened it, has been closed. Refugees who temporarily stayed there are in the streets. Macron is reportedly planning to replace the “Bulle” with five Centres for Reception and Review of the Situation (CAES) in the 18th district of Paris, Ris-Orangis, Cergy, Hauts-de-Seine and Seine-et-Marne. Refugees in Paris fear that these camps are traps for them and try to avoid going there to escape being deported back to their war-torn countries.

Last year, 100,412 refugees applied to France’s OFPRA (Office of Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons), but only 13,020 obtained refugee status; 10,985 got subsidiary protection. Sixty-five thousand three hundred and two were rejected outright. This points to the vast scale of the crisis, even before the implementation of Macron’s new draconian asylum and immigration bill. The new law has further aggravated the conditions for asylum seekers, who now have only 15 days to appeal a refusal to the National Asylum Court (CNDA). This is not long enough to prepare an appeals file.

Such are the reactionary attacks of the Macron government, which is taking as its own the anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies of the neo-fascist National Front. In November 2017, an estimated 300,000 illegal immigrants and refugees lived in France. This is only 0.5 percent of the French population. The Macron government and neo-fascist forces like the FN [National Front] are stirring up anti-immigrant hatred to divide the working class and promote unpopular policies of austerity and war.