Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

WEB NEWS

Israel and Hamas battle online over public opinion

Read more

FOCUS

Can Chancellor Merkel's winning streak last?

Read more

FOCUS

Hunger in a fertile land...

Read more

DEBATE

Nigeria: One Hundred Days and Counting (part 2)

Read more

  • Live: Air Algérie flight missing over northern Mali

    Read more

  • ‘Many’ French passengers on board missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death arrives in Italy

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • In pictures: Thousands march for Gaza peace in Paris

    Read more

  • France charges Swiss bank UBS with tax fraud

    Read more

  • Israel faces heightened diplomatic pressure as Gaza violence rages

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

  • Bomb attacks leave scores dead in north Nigeria

    Read more

France

Teenage Haitian refugee and rape victim escapes deportation

Text by Gaëlle LE ROUX

Latest update : 2010-04-01

French border police have freed Watlove Carrie, a 17-year-old Haitian detained in a Paris airport since Monday. She was arrested after trying to enter the country with a borrowed passport, to flee the sexual assault she was subjected to in Haiti.

A young Haitian girl detained for three days in the administrative holding area of Paris’ Orly airport for attempting to enter the country with a passport that wasn’t hers was released on Thursday, and allowed to join her mother and father in Paris.
 
“I’m very happy, and very relieved,” Jean-Wimzon Carrie, the girl’s father, told FRANCE 24 over the phone. “She’s exhausted but otherwise OK. The three days she spent in the holding area were very difficult. She couldn’t sleep, and she was terrified at the idea of being deported,” he added, his voice choked by emotion.
 
Watlove Carrie, 17, was left homeless and virtually alone after the earthquake on Jan. 12 killed her grandmother and destroyed their home, leaving her and her brother to fend for themselves in the streets. Her parents, politically persecuted during ex-president Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s rule, had fled Haiti for France in 1999.
 
For weeks, Watlove and her brother Nelson lived under single sheet in a street in the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince. When the rainy season began they were left soaked and shivering nearly every night. But worse than that were the repeated sexual assaults the young girl was subjected to by gangs of men. Her parents decided to get her out of Haiti “at any cost”, and when obtaining a legal French visa proved impossible, Watlove decided to “borrow” a cousin’s passport.
 
Watlove was arrested by border police when she arrived at Orly airport on Monday morning. Threatened with deportation, she was able to file a request for asylum on Tuesday, which granted her the right to stay in France until the immigration ministry examined her case. She was supposed to meet with a French immigration judge on Thursday morning, but was set free at the last minute, before the hearing took place.
 
Unexpected release
 
“At 9pm last night I got a telephone call from the French border police informing me that they had decided to release my client and that the hearing was no longer necessary,” Watlove’s lawyer Sylvain Sagliari told FRANCE 24, visibly surprised by the decision.  
 
After initially claiming that the birth certificate put forward by Watlove’s parents was insufficient to prove the girl’s identity, immigration finally agreed to free Watlove and hand her over to her parents without further documentation. It is unclear what brought about this change of heart, especially as police had first reacted by arresting Watlove’s mother Betty, who does not yet have legal French resident papers, when she came to the airport to plead her daughter’s cause.
 
“It’s regrettable that it took three full days for authorities to free Watlove,” Sagliari told FRANCE 24.  "The holding area is a notoriously difficult experience for refugees, especially for a very young and vulnerable girl. Authorities should have let her out immediately, if necessary placing her in a foyer for underage refugees until her relationship with her parents could be proven,” he added.
 
For the time being, Watlove is allowed to live with her parents in their apartment. She is protected by a decree issued by French Immigration Minister Eric Besson a day after the earthquake, ordering the "immediate suspension of all deportation proceedings… of undocumented Haitian nationals in the national territory”.
 
Because Watlove's father has legal working papers and both her parents hold stable jobs in France, the young girl hopes she will be granted resident status. So far, however, her situation in France remains precarious. Her brother Nelson, meanwhile, will remain in Haiti while his parents struggle to obtain a French visa for him.

Date created : 2010-04-01

  • FRANCE

    Teenage Haitian refugee and rape victim faces deportation in France

    Read more

COMMENT(S)