Ev­ery day

The Southland Times - - Front Page -

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

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