For Jean-René Etchegaray, mayor of Bayonne – a city of quiet and subtle in the Basque region of France, from the border Spain is only about 30km, helping African refugees is necessary obligations and humanities.
Since Italy closed its border with migrants and French efforts to prevent the migrants from the border to Italy, Spain has become a major gateway into Europe for migrants from Africa, with more than 57,000 2018. Many people from Spain across France and transit in Bayonne. “I saw the border area were closed. And I worry, maybe some basic human rights being violated “, Mayor Jean-René Etchegaray said Bayonne. Although authorities disagree but Paris Bayonne Mayor said he will continue to protect Africans crossed the border into France Spain.
Migrants: Do not allow them to wander, cold and hungry
Mayor Etchegaray gave the young men from the streets of Africa gathered in a requisition shelters old army barracks near the train station. It offers beds, heated and hot meals. African migrants warm welcome when Mayor appear, usually several times per day. “He was very good, close to the people,” Abdul Sylla (29) come from Guinea, a temporary visitor here said.
Recall the time when it switched to receiver last year, the Mayor of Bayonne found migrants is increasing can not continue to cling in the main square of the city anymore. “It was cold and rainy. We can not leave them there. They are cold, sick and hungry, “Mr. Etchegaray said. Very quickly, he had planned and straight square. About half an hour later, he led the volunteers and migrants in an underground car park for the city police – a temporary solution until can find something better.
“He went to them, show them where the toilet. He was silent observer, looking at our young people helping other young people. But we never imagined that it would end up like now, a center sponsored by the city government, “Maite Etcheverry – a law student volunteers working in shelters for migrants expressed. Previously, Maite Etcheverry have political views in opposition to Mayor 66, but after seeing his work, she had another thought.
Cruise stops at infinity
Most migrants to Bayonne only stay a few days and then moved to another location. Even the Mayor has set a bus stop right in front cheap shelter for migrants easily leave. Mr. Etchegaray also adjust the bus company manager for the drive here made unreasonable demands that Africans must produce identification.
Local police are not staying in the area. The youth can mobilize or deep thought with gratitude that the worst seemed to be behind. “I never want to see the sea again, I was too scared already,” Ibrahima Doumbia, a young Guinean crossed the Mediterranean by boat admit. During the day, the center welcomed the group of migrants come and go, often they come from the car along with personal objects quite complex. Local police said the area around the railway station in the border city of Irun Nearby Spain has formed a trafficking gangs.
French officers and Spain jointly migrants intercepted at the bridge over the river separating the two countries. Borders open, but if they are migrants, they can be stopped, checked and deported back. Once deported back, migrants was delivered to the Spanish police. After checking the identity, they were released at the foot of the bridge Irun Spain Hendaye border with France is only a few meters. Migrants trapped in the vicious circle are not receiving such party. Alone and helpless, they become prey for traffickers, the only choice so that they can reach their desired place and change your life.
Message about “the dignity and humanity”
A truism that the State supports almost very little for shelters that Mayor established the Steering Bayonne. This information is Mr. Gilbert Payet, representatives of the Ministry of Interior in the Basque region confirmed to local reporters last month. However, Mayor not surprised.
The attitude of the French government for the Mayor of Bayonne illustrate the ambiguity of the French President Emmanuel Macron on migration issues. On the one hand, he Macron honored humanitarian tradition of France and asked the police to fair treatment for migrants. On the other hand, the French government has refused to receive ships of migrants, offering supporters the right of migrants to justice and openly about how many foreigners were expelled or returned to the border.
But on the contrary, the Mayor again distribute blankets, inquire the health of migrants. “They say he will make migrants come here even more. They say he will create an event in Calais other but so far, things did not turn out that way, “Mr. Etchegaray share his story, which referred to Calais, once considered a” hot spot “in northern France, when thousands of people gathered here waiting in the mud, cold and miserable in the hope to be in England.
Etchegaray what he regarded as his rational perspective has made him a character in conflict with the government of President Emmanuel Macron.
Mayor does not want these young men, mostly from West African countries speak French as Guinea, Mali and Ivory Coast, just to hang around forever. He did not want them camping on the streets with houses with bold architectural Basque nestled along the river that flows slowly, but he wants to be here, they are welcome in “the dignity and humanity”.