Refugees

Double punishment for Calais refugees

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On the morning of 22 September French riot police razed a makeshift camp in Calais where mostly Afghan refugees were living as they waited to cross over to Britain.

Despite the presence of human rights activists, the police arrested 276 people - half of them minors.

Eric Besson, the French immigration minister, ordered the clearout of what was dubbed "the jungle" in order to "stop traffickers".

It is ironic of Besson to try to put a humanistic veneer on his action. Refugees set up the camp after French authorities decided in November 2002 to close the Red Cross camp in Sangatte that used to look after them. And the French government wasn't worried when most of the refugees found themselves on the streets at the beginning of winter.

Refugees organise in Pakistan

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Ali Hassan and Gul Pasand of International Socialists Pakistan visited the Jalala refugee camp near Peshawar and found a mood to organise against the military assault.

Most people living in the camps come from the Swat and Buner districts of the North-West Frontier Province. They are very poor and know nobody in the cities. They are peasant workers, very small landholders and associated with lowly professions. However, they are angry to be described as beggars. One, Nisbat Khan, said, "Look at our conditions. This place is filthy and full of insects and other harmful creatures. I found a poisonous snake and killed it and when I showed it to a policeman he said, 'You haven't killed a Taliban! Why are you so proud of your catch?'"

Fortress Europe on Samos island: a Greek tragedy

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When British academic Chris Jones, acclaimed for his writing on radical social work, went to live on a small Greek island he discovered that he was living on a frontline. He reports on the plight of desperate refugees who risk their lives to escape to Europe, and the reaction of the community.

There are now two significant groups of people travelling to the Greek island of Samos, which lies close to the coast of Turkey. One group is known as tourists or travellers. They come here conventionally from many parts of the world either on the summer charter planes or the ferry boats. They spend most of their time on the beach and rarely have any contact with the authorities. The second group also spends time on the beaches and in the sea.

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