AA migrant crisis in Paris risks spiralling out of control, charities including the Red Cross warned yesterday, after two refugees were found drowned in canals and a third was stabbed.
Their plea came as Anne Hidalgo, the socialist mayor of Paris, clashed with Emmanuel Macron’s government, each claiming the other had failed to deal with the plight of migrants in the capital ahead of municipal elections in 2020.
Nearly 3000 refugees, many from Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan and Nigeria, are crammed into three camps in Paris, with charities estimating that 80 people arrive there daily.
More than half are based around the Millenaire supermarket on the banks of the Saint-Denis canal on the outskirts of the 19th arrondissement. French media have already dubbed the growing shanty town ‘‘new Calais’’, after the notorious ‘‘jungle’’ camp in the north, which was dismantled in 2016.
The bulk of the remainder, mainly Afghans, have set up camp closer to the city centre, near the trendy canal SaintMartin area. Yesterday, migrant aid charities, medical and homeless help groups and unions warned that tragedies would be inevitable without state intervention, because of escalating tensions and ‘‘a climate of extreme precariousness’’.
On Sunday, a Sudanese migrant was stabbed at the Millenaire camp at the Porte de la Villette. Last week, an Afghan migrant drowned after falling into a canal, weeks after an unidentified body was found in the same canal.
Aid workers visiting the camps have requested police assistance as tensions flared in cramped and dirty conditions. Millenaire has only a handful of sanitary cabins and taps.
And a group of 60 Moroccan migrants, some as young as 10, have become the bane of the Goutte d’Or district, where Depriving children as young as four of ‘‘screen time’’ is tantamount to child abuse, sociologists say in a study that contradicts conventional wisdom.
Researchers called for children to be allowed unrestricted access to devices. They concluded that the risks from online interactions were often overstated and were outweighed by the social and educational advantages.
Researchers from Teesside University, Aston University and the University of South Australia reviewed scores of previous studies and surveyed 2000 internet users for their forthcoming book Screen Society.
Ellis Cashmore, a co-author and honorary professor of sociology at Aston University, Birmingham, said that the internet gave children important opportunities for development. Parental bans were misguided and could be harmful, he said.
‘‘Society has been completely transformed by the combination of screens social workers say they are violent and uncontrollable.
Last week, Hidalgo sent an angry letter to Edouard Philippe, the prime minister, accusing the government of ‘‘abandoning the City of Paris’’.
She wrote: ‘‘Chaos now sums up the capital’s camps. Only a simultaneous operation to take care of all of the people will solve it.’’ Days earlier, Gerard Collomb, the interior minister, said the ball was firmly in her court and that ‘‘Paris remains the guarantor of the salubrity and cleanliness of its public spaces’’.
He said the municipal authority should evict illegal immigrants, many of whom should request asylum in the EU country where they were first registered, under the Dublin convention.
But the mayor said it was not simply a case of evicting migrants. She demanded the state house them while she attempted to avoid yet more chaos on the streets.
‘‘What are we waiting for? A huge fight? More deaths?’’ she added.
Pierre Henry, head of the France Terre d’Asile (Land of Asylum) charity, criticised the government for making migrants ‘‘the object of a power struggle between the state and Paris’’.
Hidalgo is expected to run for reelection in 2020 against a yet-to-beannounced rival from the Macron camp. The government, Henry told Le Figaro, ‘‘is banking on the situation going rotten’’ to weaken the embattled mayor’s hand.
The Right has also waded in, with Eric Ciotti, an MP with the conservative Republican Party, saying: ‘‘The Parisian situation highlights the fact that the migration dossier is out of control. The government moves people around but it doesn’t solve the problem.’’
Benoist de Sinety, the vicar-general of the Archdiocese of Paris, said that whoever was to blame, ‘‘nothing can ever justify this indifference and silence.
‘‘No reason, whether or not a reason of state, can explain this total lack of humanity.’’ - Telegraph Group and the internet and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities,’’ he said. ‘‘We know through our own day-to-day lives and through our research that many parents ban their children from using smartphones and devices because they are worried about screen addiction.
‘‘By removing screens, you are taking away an encyclopaedic source of information, depriving young people of a vital source of communication and potentially exposing them to a form of bullying and ridicule from other young people. Depriving young people of screens will almost certainly have long-term negative effects for them and is tantamount to child abuse.’’
The risks from ‘‘trolls’’ and ‘‘internet addiction’’ were greatly exaggerated, he added.
Children were better at protecting themselves than most commentators realised.
The advice contradicts the consensus among experts who believe that parents should exercise tight controls over their children’s screen use. – The Times