On the isolated minors and activists of the Roya Valley

The General Assembly of the AED-EDL has been held in Nice on the 9th and 10th of February 2018 and has provided us with the opportunity to discuss European migration policy with activists from the association ROYA CITIZEN who have testified of the situation of migrants on the Franco-Italian border.

For several months the ROYA Valley has been the scene of a human tragedy: a valley in which migrants are stranded in distress, including many unaccompanied minors whom the state has refused to take charge of. In fact, the state denies the quality of minor of age to these children and thus denies the possibility of granting them asylum.

The introduction of the emergency laws to regulate the state of emergency in France has led to the restoration of the border between Italy and France. This is pushing hundreds of exiles to seek refuge in the Valley, while they try to cross the border and on their way to seek asylum in France. Currently, refugees have to stopped passing by the Roya Valley and now seek to pass the Col de l’Echelle from Bardonecchia to Briancon, risking their lives in the mountains.

Among these refugees, there are many unaccompanied minors from Eritrea, Afghanistan, Syria … They have found refuge with the inhabitants of the Valley of Roya. These citizens have done everything to ensure that the rights of these refugees are protected, that they are received with dignity and are able to seek asylum and ask for state protection.

Even with proof of having begun a protection procedure, these migrants received immediate “refusals of entry”, in many case informally. They were pushed back into Italy, which is illegal and contrary to international law.

Faced with this denial of rights and humanity, citizens have had no choice but to substitute a blind and deaf state. They have helped save lives and restore the dignity of those men and women fleeing their countries. They have taken care of the first aid: accommodation, care and advice.

It is citizens who, like Cédric HERROU or Pierre-Alain MANNONI, have joined forces that are now facing the harassment of the French State, as well as prosecution, detention and arbitrary searches. Their actions aimed at the respect of human dignity have ben condemned criminally. The lawyers who defend them have been recently threatened with death.

Throughout Europe, situations of ill treatment of refugees have been noted: push-backs at the border without the possibility of accessing a lawyers’ advice and effectively exercising their own rights, as well as daily violations of international conventions.

The AED-EDL denounces this policy of exclusion and pushbacks outside the borders, at the centre of the policy of European Authorities and Member States.

The AED supports citizens who do not hesitate to help men, women and children relegated to the margins of society, to preserve their dignity. The association denounces the non-respect of the fundamental rights of minors and – the criminalization of citizens who show their solidarity. It is the government policies that are unworthy.

The AED-EDL calls for the abandonment of criminal proceedings against citizens, and the repeal of the offense of solidarity in the Code of entry and residence of foreigners of the right to asylum, which is being amended in France.

It requires the application of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms and the International Convention on the Rights of the Child and the respect by France of its international commitments.

Nice, 9th and 10th February

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