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France

Migrants in Bayonne, near the Franco-Spanish border, where a transit centre enables them to rest before continuing their journey. France. [© Mohammad Ghannam/MSF]

No. staff in 2019: 18 | Expenditure in 2019: €2.8 million| Year MSF first worked in the country: 1987 | msf.org/france

Key medical figures:

  • 1,820 individual mental health consultations

Many unaccompanied minors who arrive in France are traumatised by violence and abuse suffered on their journeys. For most, obtaining recognition of their minority status is an arduous process.

In 2019, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) continued to provide assistance to young, unaccompanied migrants. Many of them had seen their applications for child protection turned down because they were not recognised as minors, often for disputable reasons. 

We offer respite and care, and facilitate access to legal support and medical, social, psychological, and administrative services in partnership with other organisations in an MSF-run centre in Pantin, a suburb of Paris. A total of 734 minors benefited from these services in 2019.

During the year, in partnership with Utopia 56, an association that helps migrants, we focused on expanding a network of volunteer families across the country to host minors throughout the course of their appeal, during which time they are excluded from any protection or assistance from the state. Hundreds of young migrants and asylum seekers across France are being forced to sleep rough because of the state’s failure to provide them with accommodation, despite having a legal obligation to do so. In response, from December, MSF started to provide emergency accommodation for up to 150 unaccompanied minors each night in Paris and Marseille. 

We also ran mobile healthcare clinics for migrants of all ages in Paris and continued to monitor the situation across the country, especially along the borders with Italy and Spain. At the end of the year, we called for a parliamentary investigation to look into violations committed by public authorities and take action to stop the patterns of abuse and violence against migrants and people standing in solidarity with them.

COVID-19 Coronavirus

Most of the world's countries have reported cases of coronavirus disease COVID-19 and MSF teams in over 70 countries are now racing to respond to the pandemic.  

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