Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

FOCUS

Ireland's missing babies casting light on a dark history...

Read more

WEB NEWS

World Cup 2014: Germany-Brazil inspires the Web

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Boutros-Ghali: 'I wanted to reform the UN'

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

57 000 little problems

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

The Sarkozy 'threat'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Budget challenge for India's new government

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Africa's Newest Failed State: How to Stop Civil War and Famine in South Sudan?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Israeli strikes on Gaza as seen on social media

Read more

  • Tour de France passes WWI Chemin des Dames battlefield

    Read more

  • Germany asks US intelligence station chief to leave country

    Read more

  • Senegalese man awarded French visa in gay marriage debate

    Read more

  • French companies will have to accept anonymous CVs

    Read more

  • Video: Muslims in China confront obstacles to Ramadan fasting

    Read more

  • Israel steps up airstrikes as diplomacy gets under way

    Read more

  • Argentina beat Netherlands on penalties to reach World Cup final

    Read more

  • Foiled French jihadist ‘targeted Louvre and Eiffel Tower’

    Read more

  • Obama in Texas to urge congressional action on child migrant crisis

    Read more

  • Iraq’s heritage 'in danger' from ISIS militants

    Read more

  • Froome crashes out of Tour de France

    Read more

  • South Sudan independence heroes ‘have lost their way’

    Read more

  • 100 years on, the Tour de France returns to the Western Front

    Read more

  • Dozens of blindfolded bodies found south of Baghdad

    Read more

  • Both candidates say they won Indonesian presidential election

    Read more

France

France calls for probe on illegal immigration

©

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2010-01-25

France calls for a probe on illegal immigration after 124 Kurds were abandoned on a beach in Corsica.

AFP - France launched a probe Saturday and called for a European summit to combat illegal immigration, a day after 124 self-proclaimed Kurds landed in Corsica.
   
Immigration Minister Eric Besson underscored that the French Mediterranean island could not be allowed to become an entry point for illegal immigrants and mooted a European conference as an investigation began into who the traffickers were.
   
The migrants, who claimed they were Kurds from Syria, were dropped off near the southern town of Bonifacio on Friday by a boat which then departed, officials said.
   
It was the biggest known mass-scale landing on the island of migrants, who usually try to enter Europe by sea through Italy's Sicily; Malta; Greece and Spain's Canary Islands.
   
The 57 men, 29 women -- five of them pregnant -- and 38 children were initially lodged in a gymnasium in Bonifacio but on Saturday they were flown to mainland France to be housed in detention centres in cities such as Marseille and Lyon.
   
Each "case will be individually assessed", the immigration ministry said, adding that the migrants "will get an interpreter, a medical check-up, information on aid in case of voluntary return and legal help".
   
Besson earlier said some of the migrants identified themselves as Kurds from Syria and others said they were from North Africa.
   
Some of the immigrants resisted being shifted out from the gynasium but were forced into buses. Many had refused a meal late Friday in protest against plans to relocate them.
   
Several rights groups slammed the government response. The League of Human Rights (LDH) said their transfer to detention centres went against the tenets of the French Republic.
   
"They are not 'illegals' living underground in France but refugees who after having arrived on French territory have the absolute right ... to seek asylum," it said.
   
And Ava Basta (That's Enough), a local organisation espousing racial equality, denounced their transfer, saying it would have preferred them to "benefit from hospitality and solidarity that Corsicans have displayed in the past".
   
But Corsica's prefect, Stephane Bouillon, said the immigrants could demand asylum and added that they were being moved from the gymnasium to ensure "better security and more salubrious surroundings".
   
Bouillon, the regional governor, said an investigation had been launched "since they were clearly brought in by traffickers whom we are now seeking actively ... to dismantle such networks".
   
About 80 adults were grilled by police before being sent to the detention centres. They said they had left Syria on trucks for Tunisia, where they boarded a cargo vessel bound for Corsica.
   
They also told police they had wanted to go to Scandinavia, Ajaccio's state prosecutor Thomas Pison said.
   
The immigrants were all devoid of identity papers but appeared in good health and were suitably dressed for European winter weather, Corsica's governor Bouillon said.
   
"They said they did the journey in several stages across the Mediterranean and were transported up to Corsica on a cargo vessel," he added.
   
A source close to the case said the vessel in question was either Russian or Ukrainian.
   
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Saturday urged France to ensure that each of the self-proclaimed Kurds was allowed to seek asylum and to ensure a "complete and fair examination" of each case.
   
"The UNHCR calls upon the French authorities to ensure that each person seeking the protection of France can access a process seeking asylum which will ensure them fair and complete examination of each case," a statement from the agency's French office said.
   
On Saturday, the immigration ministry said a second vessel suspected of being involved in the mass landing had been identified and was being checked.

Date created : 2010-01-25

Comments

COMMENT(S)