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Some 600 Tibetan asylum seekers in France removed to shelters from forest camp in latest evacuation

The makeshift camp set up by Tibetan asylum seekers near a forest in Acheres, northwest of Paris. (Photo courtesy: AFP/Christophe ARCHAMBAULT)

(TibetanReview.net, Dec04’19) – Police in France have on Dec 3 removed some 600 Tibetan asylum-seekers from a camp they had set up in August on the edge of a forest outside Paris and bused them to shelters with better facilities. “It’s unacceptable to let these people live in these conditions,” the AFP Dec 3 quoted Marc Honore, the mayor of Acheres, as saying during the evacuation. Some 8,000 Tibetans are now said to live in France.

This was only the latest evacuation after several others undertaken near Acheres, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) northwest of the French capital, the report said.

Except for families with children, men and women were loaded onto separate buses early Dec 3 and the camp was cleared, the report said.

Once transferred to the shelters that include gyms and schools, the plan was to rehouse the migrants in structures located outside the Ile de France region, reported RFI Dec 3.

“Since 2017, nearly 800 of the migrants have already been placed in shelters,” the report quoted the government’s regional office as saying in a statement. “But despite several housing facilities in the Yvelines region, it is impossible to bring in such a large number of people in suitable conditions.”

The camp in Saint-Germain-en-Laye forest was stated to have been dismantled to “protect” the migrants after growing health and safety concerns.

And the mayor has said, “Every year, their number increases, and it’s not going to stop anytime soon.”

The reports said the area began attracting Tibetans after 2010, when a local aid association started offering meals, showers and help with their asylum requests.

The reports cited Francoise Robin, a Tibet specialist at France’s National Institute of Eastern Languages and Civilisation, as saying around 8,000 Tibetans now lived in France.

Tibetan asylum seekers gather by a portrait of the Dalai Lama at a makeshift camp in Saint-Germain-en-Laye forest in Acheres. (Photo courtesy: NNN)

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