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Immigrants amidst suspicion and waiting in Kalais .. "I do not know where Rwanda is"

Immigrants amidst suspicion and waiting in Kalais .. “I do not know where Rwanda is”

Two weeks ago, the United Kingdom announced that it had signed an unprecedented agreement with Rwanda to send asylum seekers to East Africa in a bid to prevent attempts to cross from northern France. The immigration news team went to Calais, where immigrants expressed their fears about the decision, some decided to wait before making the crossing attempt again, and some are still determined to move to Britain. Some young people were shocked by the decision, “Why send us to Africa? We do not even know where this country is.”

In almost complete silence, near a side road on the outskirts of Calais in northern France, tired bodies with sleepy eyes stand. Khalid and his friends are waiting for the local club to arrive when a skinny young man walks by with two bottles of water. Provides toilets for them.

With about 1,500 migrants (according to organization figures), waiting for food and assistance provided by associations or for a decent opportunity to move into the UK is an essential and natural part of everyday life. But the wait has intensified since the UK announced on April 14 that it would sign an agreement to send asylum seekers to the East African country of Rwanda.

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“We have stopped crossing and are waiting to find out more.”

“We’re frustrated,” says Khalid, 22, who stands out among a group of about 20 Sudanese youth. “We are looking for any new information about this deal. Since we heard about it, my friend and I have stopped trying to cross. To Britain by truck. We will wait. To see if the authorities will send us to Rwanda.”

During his conversation with MigrantNews, the silence of the scene was broken when young people sometimes asked questions and inquiries, at other times they condemned this unprecedented decision, saying, “We all went through Italy or Malta, where we recorded fingerprints,” So I do not believe in seeking asylum in France.

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A few meters away, dozens of policemen, wearing their shields and carrying their black sticks, arrive at a scene that evokes fear in souls, but it has become a regular occurrence that Khalid witnesses every 48 hours. Police arrive in the morning to clean up the area, and in a few minutes the immigrants return to the same place to spend the night.

Under the cloudy skies of Calais, a cool breeze blows around the city in the Dover Strait, unaware that summer is approaching, the immigrants are living in poor conditions, and they have to stay months before they can cross. It costs about $ 2,000 per person to be smuggled into the UK, or through small boats on the English Channel (as opposed to hiding in trucks that do not cost money but often require less security and many personal efforts without hijackers).

“I do not know where Rwanda is”

Ibrahim, a young man from the city of Sulaimaniyah in Iraqi Kurdistan, arrived in Kales a month ago and his two attempts to cross the canal failed, but he too stopped two weeks ago. “This decision is unreasonable. Why do they want to send us to Africa? I graduated from the Faculty of Physical Education. I want to go to the UK with my friends and work there. But there is no job in Africa and no future.”

Ibrahim, 29, from Iraqi Kurdistan, has been trying for a month to cross the English Channel to seek asylum in the UK. Photo: Mohajernews / Julia Dumont

Unable to imagine living in Rwanda, risking his life across the dangerous seas from Turkey to Italy, in broken Arabic, he asked, “If Britain finally wants to deport us to Iraq, why is it sending us to this African country?” I do not know where it is? “.

Illustrative diagram
Illustrative diagram

At the end of a dirty land where legs are easily dug while walking, there are dozens of canvas tents scattered next to a pile of burnt metal cans and pieces of wood used by immigrants to cook their food, with a few empty pots in the middle. From her speed, he repeatedly jumped and tried unsuccessfully to disappear. But the likes of Ibrahim and Khalid stopped trying two weeks ago.

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A camp in Calais, northern France, home to 1,500 immigrants, according to local associations.
A camp in Calais, northern France, home to 1,500 immigrants, according to local associations.

Aladdin, from the Sudanese city of Kassala, told Aladdin, who did not want to return to Africa, “We were shocked to learn of this agreement. I could not even think about it. How will they send us? Rwanda who was a witness Massacres Genocide? I do not consider this country safe, I do not imagine living there. I ran away from tribal strife and economic problems, and after I’ve been here, will they send us to Rwanda? “

Aladdin, a young Sudanese man from Kassala, tries to get to Britain by truck.  Photo: Mohajernews / Dana Alboos
Aladdin, a young Sudanese man from Kassala, tries to get to Britain by truck. Photo: Mohajernews / Dana Alboos

We will not stop the effort even if it is sent to Rwanda

At the Secor Catholic Day Reception Center, which seems to be the only place to relax a little for the tired immigrants, young Sudanese Thomas and Jimmy sit in the front yard wearing thick overcoats, while some young people play football.

“Of course we’ve heard of the deal with Rwanda, but it will not stop our attempts to enter the UK,” Thomas says in a low voice, the 24-year-old who has been in college for eight months and is still firm. “We are not afraid to go to Rwanda if it confirms that we have the right to seek asylum in Britain.” 17-year-old Jimmy nodded in agreement and added: “There is no point in staying in France. We will go to Britain no matter what the circumstances.”

Thomas, a young Sudanese man from Nayla, Sudan, is determined to move to Rwanda but to Britain.  Photo: Mohajernews / Dana Alboos
Thomas, a young Sudanese man from Nayla, Sudan, is determined to move to Rwanda but to Britain. Photo: Mohajernews / Dana Alboos

The ambiguity is exacerbated by rumors among immigrants

As for the young Afghans, Javed, Momen and Abdullah, they are not worried about the deal, thinking they should come to Klaus a few hours ago and go to Britain. Referring to the Rwanda agreement, the youth knew nowhere other than that it was in Africa, and said, “The new agreement does not apply to us, we are from Afghanistan, they only want to send young people. Of African descent there. “

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Misinformation Of course, the announced agreement does not say that deportation is only for asylum seekers from African countries, but also for all those who came to the UK illegally. However, rumors and misinformation spread widely as reliable information was not available to immigrants.

“It’s hard for us,” says Antoine, a member of the “Sycor Catholic” Association, who receives dozens of questions every day on the subject, and “most people feel sad and pessimistic when they talk about Rwanda. .

Young Kurdish Ibrahim speaks with confidence about how the deal applies not only to “those who enter the United Kingdom through the channel”, but this too is unconfirmed information. Terms of the official agreement published on the Government website Not to mention it.

“We are wary of publishing any interpretation of this Agreement because we are afraid of misrepresentation,” said Margaret Combe, an Utopia 56 activist who supports immigrants in Galilee. François Guignac, an activist for the Auberge de Migrane Association, said the deal would have a negative impact, adding that “some will try to take more dangerous routes to avoid crossing the English Channel from northern France, and urge smugglers to suggest alternatives in exchange for money.” Great. “

Ibrahim eventually changed his plan and moved to Germany, while the young Afghan Kareem * lost hope of staying in college and left for Paris. “I traveled across the country hoping to move to the UK to create a new life in a safe country. People who came to Calais were talking about Rwanda. So unfortunately I changed my plan and decided to seek refuge in France despite the administrative problems here.”

* Nickname