Aquarius : the arrival of a sixty refugees in France

Fifty-nine refugees from the Aquarius and another ship with humanitarian aid who had landed in Malta in mid-August arrived Thursday in France, while tensions are still strong in Europe about the reception of migrants for whom Paris held a solidarity mechanism “perennial”. Parties of The Valletta Thursday morning by a charter flight chartered by France, these refugees arrived around 11am at the airport of Roissy Charles-de-Gaulle, has found an AFP journalist.

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They had been heard at Malta by the French Office for the protection of refugees and stateless persons (Ofpra), which had sent a mission to ensure that these refugees correpondaient well to the criteria of the asylum. Tired but smiling, with for only luggage a backpack red, the refugees, including twelve women and five children, were immediately distributed on the bus. Among them are “16 of the Sudan, 25 Eritreans, 10 Somalis, as well as some Cameroonians, Ivorians and Nigerians,” said the AFP Didier Leschi, the director general of the Ofii (French Office for the immigratoin and integration).

They then had to win of the reception centres “in Burgundy, Franche-Comté and the far East”, where the refugee status will be issued promptly at the end of a fast-track procedure,” said Didier Leschi came to meet him at the airport.

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The Aquarius was docked at Malta on August 16, after wandering several days in the Mediterranean with 141 migrants exhausted at its edge. The day before, 114 migrants had arrived on the island aboard another boat, and France had undertaken to host 60 refugees on this total. In total, five countries are committed to allocate the refugees of these two vessels. The minister of the Interior Gérard Collomb stressed in a statement that “France is the first EU member State to implement its commitment”. “France is new to the initiative, in accordance with our values and the requirement of solidarity in order to face the challenge of migration in a coordinated and collaborative way at the european level, despite the current political crisis”, he commented.

Gérard Collomb recalled, nevertheless, that “the answers to the case-by-case basis to the landings of these last few weeks are not satisfactory: a long-term solution is essential at the european level”. “The idea is to illustrate the mechanism of the centres controlled” defended by France, with “a system of support for refugees arriving in the ports of the south of Europe,” said Pascal Brice, the director general of Ofpra (French Office for the protrection of refugees and stateless persons). With this operation, the fifth since June, the France wants to make the evidence of the effectiveness of the “european mechanism for the perennial” it defends in the european crisis, around the reception of migrants. 260 people have been hosted by France in this framework.

The crisis began in mid-June, when the Italian minister of the Interior, Matteo Salvini, had refused to let it dock with the Aquarius, who had wandered for a week before the Spanish port of Valencia agreed to let the migrants disembark.

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