The past few months have seen several high-profile evacuations of makeshift refugee camps in Paris. With no place to go, hundreds of asylum seekers are forced to spend the brutally cold winter months sleeping on rough stony streets of the French capital.
Most of these refugees, who were living in slum-like settlements all over the city, hail from Afghanistan. So far, their woes have gone unreported. However, to protest the lack of migrant housing and to bring this issue to the attention of the authorities, the Afghan asylum-seekers are now setting up their camps at the site of most prominent Paris attack memorial — Place de la Republique.
It is the same place where hundreds of thousands walked in solidarity in the wake of terror attacks. The square has since been filled with candles, pictures, peace signs and flowers. However, the site of a tribute to those killed on Nov. 13 is now strewn with bedrolls, sleeping bags and debris from the refugees living nearby.
Dozens of homeless people have not only taken to sleep near the memorial site, one group of Afghan migrants has even nailed a sign stating “Borders Kill” to a tree near their temporary camp.
However, some Parisians have not taken too well to dozens of migrants sleeping near the square each night.
Obviously these migrants have NO respect and should be deported and sent home, they don't like it then f**k off back.https://t.co/rgKJvk3lLh— Michael Smith (@oflahertyevents) December 23, 2015
Compared to other European countries, France receives relatively few asylum claims from Afghanistan. In 2014, 472 Afghan refugees filed asylum claims in France, 17 percent more than in 2013, becoming the second-largest group of asylum-seekers after Syrians, according to the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons.
Some of the Afghan migrants are considered to have entered the country illegally.
Ils sont près de 150 Afghans installés depuis des mois sous les arcades de la place Raoul Follereau ( Paris 10ème ) A #Paris, le 19 decembre les #migrants afghans s'installent #PlacedelaRépublique pour revendiquer leur droit à un hébergement et un statut de réfuigiés. Photo : @FERDILIMANI @AGENCELEJOURNAL #PourleMonde Lire notre reportage <http://bit.ly/1Tc2OUA> #France #Societe #migrant #afghanistan
Although many volunteers and aid organizations are working to provide relief to these migrants, the truth is that their plight is largely unheard of. With the influx of Syrian refugees in Europe, this situation of homelessness is bound to get worse.