Young foreigners declaring themselves to be minors, but not recognized by the departments, are not looked after by the authorities pending their legal action. Without a hosting solution, they are on their own. To prevent them from finding themselves alone in the streets of Paris, the Utopia 56 association installs these teenagers in makeshift camps. Reportage. The sun sets in the distance over the Seine and creates pink and purple reflections on the water. On the bank are aligned the tents of a small camp set up out of sight of passers-by. This Tuesday, June 21, while the music festival is in full swing, a dozen teenagers, tents and blankets under their arms, come to join the forty young people who have been living in this camp for several days, in the inner suburbs of Paris. “Here’s the Miami hotel!” joked one of them when discovering the place. childhood (ASE). The Device for the evaluation of unaccompanied foreign minors (Demie), which evaluates the age of young people for the department in Paris, has not recognized them as minors and, pending their legal action, they have no accommodation.>> To (re)read: Unaccompanied minors: all you need to know about your care when you arrive in FranceMamadou, 15, looks particularly concerned. “There is no water or electricity in the camp?” he worries. Like the others, he notices on his arrival that the nearest toilets are a 20-minute walk away and that you have to take the metro to hope to be able to eat and wash. “We only eat once a day. And eating is quite a trip. It’s so far that when you come back here after eating, you’re hungry again,” says Alhassane, a Guinean from 15 years old who has been living in the camp for a week. At least forty young foreigners live in the camp. Credit: InfoMigrantsAt the camp, three volunteers from Utopia 56 help the young people set up their tents and reassure them as best they can. “The first evening is a shock, explains Audrey Manin. They are still very marked by what they experienced during their trip and, there, they realize that they are all alone”. “You have understood that you can make a recourse?” Most newcomers to the camp came into contact with Utopia 56 a few hours earlier, in front of the Demie, in the 11th arrondissement of Paris. Every day, from Monday to Friday, volunteers from the association post themselves outside the structure to offer their help to foreign minors who have just been refused care. Were you told? Did you understand that you can appeal?” they ask the young people who come out of the building with serious faces. In addition to the letter which lists the reasons for the refusal to recognize them as minors, the young people are given a map of the Paris metro and directions to go to court, Porte de Clichy, where lawyers can help them to take legal action. .Annaëlle Morlec exchanges, in front of the Demie, with two young people whose request for care was refused, June 21, 2022. Credit: InfoMigrantsThis Tuesday afternoon, Milo, 16, is in shock at the decision. This Ivorian arrived in Paris four days ago and sleeps rough. The Utopia volunteers offer him to come to the camp with the other young people, but Milo declines the invitation. “My head is full of too many things right now. I need to be alone.” For all resources, Milo has a two-euro coin that he takes out of his pocket. “I’m going to spend them on food.” The teenager regains some hope when a volunteer tells him that if a parent can send him his original birth certificate, it could help him be recognized as a minor. “My father can send it to me but I don’t have an address here and I don’t know anyone,” worries Milo. A young man in a blue jacket and black jeans sat down a little apart on the sidewalk, looking totally dejected by his refusal to take charge. He too could probably have a birth certificate sent to him, but communication with the volunteers is complicated because the teenager does not understand French well. adults, deplores Annaëlle Morlec, specialist educator and volunteer for Utopia 56. They must rely on members of their community in France to have documents sent to them. the slightest error in interpretation can be harmful to him. Sekou has experienced this. This Ivorian cannot read. He confused, in his account, his date of birth with the date on which his birth certificate was registered, one month later. In the letter explaining his refusal to be taken into care, the Demie underlines this inconsistency of dates. City Hall, where they are joined by other foreign minors in appeal. The young man in the blue jacket has found a smile again thanks to a Guinean with whom he can speak Wolof. On the site of the town hall, Utopia 56 brings together the minors in appeal before leaving for the camp. Credit: InfoMigrantsTeenagers are exhausted and need to rest. Some have to go to court the next morning to start their appeal process with a lawyer. Once the distribution of tents and blankets is done, the group takes public transport to the camp on the banks of the Seine. “It’s at least the fourth I’ve been to, explains Audrey Manin of Utopia. Each time, the police end up dismantling the camps.” de la Bastille, in the center of Paris, to alert the authorities to the situation of minors on appeal. Other associations such as TIMMY or the Midis du Mie also host a few young people, but the associative reception capacities are limited.>> To (re)read: “No one deserves to live on the street, even less the youngest” : words of miners in appeal in the Paris campAt the end of May around sixty associations, collectives and unions, including Médecins du Monde (MdM), Solidaires, Cimade or the Syndicat de la magistrature, signed and made public the manifesto “Minors in danger on the street, it is urgent to protect them”. They demand the “presumption of minority” for these teenagers and accommodation places for young people in appeal. In the camp in the eastern suburbs, Sayon says he has already spent weeks on the street. Arriving in France in February, the 17-year-old is still awaiting the response to his legal action. After more than four months without accommodation, he knows full well that time is passing and that his chances of being taken care of are dwindling. “In a few months, I will be of age and that worries me a lot.”
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