Calls for France's 'half empty' Ukrainian refugee centres to admit other migrants

·2-min read
REUTERS - SARAH MEYSSONNIER

Aid groups and NGOs have called for a demonstration in Paris on Saturday to demand that hundreds of homeless migrants in the Ile-de-France region be allowed to access housing centres dedicated to Ukrainians, which they say are now "half empty".

This "unjustified and unjustifiable" situation is the result of a difference in treatment between Ukrainians and the rest of the migrant population by the state, Médecins du Monde, Utopia 56 and Pantin Solidaire said in a joint statement on Thursday.

The organisations are calling for a march on Saturday at 2.30pm leaving the Ukrainian refugee welcome centre at Porte de Versailles in the south of Paris, to the prefecture of the Ile-de-France region, which is in charge of orchestrating the so-called shelter operations.

Housing centres 'half empty'

"The housing centres dedicated to Ukrainian refugees are half empty," said the organisations. "In the 'first reception' (premier accueil) centre [...] between 300 and 500 places are left vacant every night.

The state, which has already been approached on this subject, categorically refuses to accommodate vulnerable people from other countries. Yet at the same time, several hundred people are sleeping rough.

"In addition to this, there are several housing structures also opened exclusively for Ukrainian refugees, notably in Bercy and Gare de l'Est (in Paris), which have already been closed by the State, due to the drop in arrivals," added the organisations.

'Difference in treatment'

"On the contrary, it is essential that these structures be made permanent and that they become accessible to homeless people regardless of their nationality," they explained.

A demonstration to denounce "the difference in treatment" between Ukrainian and non-Ukrainian refugees had already been held in early April in Seine-Saint-Denis, where makeshift settlements with in particular Afghan nationals have been springing up for several months.

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