A right for lodging
- Sixty families are camping since the summer of 1998 after being expelled
from their lodging. They were promised to be quickly re-housed. During
waiting, they accepted to stay in a hotel. Once again promises were not
kept and the families are still in these dilapidated and unhealthy hotels.
Living conditions are painful: no place to prepare a meal, small rooms,
school access difficult, harassment from the hotel keepers although they
make money on them.
- Most families have a job, often temporary, but with low income. They
enlisted for a family lodging years ago, 10 or 20 years ago!
- Visiting a five story hotel, I felt deeply ashamed, specially when
I saw a family of six living in a single room! Facing this situation, we
decided to do some thing, a "coup". One morning Professor Albert
Jacquart took me in his car to go and pick up Professor Leon Schwartzenberg
and Jean-Baptiste Ayrault, President of the DAL (A right-for-lodging Association).
Then we went to take with us Abbey Pierre. The five of us joined the families
demonstrating in the street. But why come to that? However it was enough
for the Town Hall of Paris to attribute at last a decent lodging to these
The crime of solidarity
- The people without legal permit to stay in France are desperate. They
are risking their life with hunger strikes. Everyday they feel insecure
because of police controls, and more so they are being exploited by their
employers. We have helped, followed, and sponsored these people. It is
not enough, we have to do more.
- Several Associations have claimed: "We are with those without
legal permit. Give them a permit to stay or lead us into trial".
- About a hundred of demonstrators get together on Vendome Square, in
front of the Ministry of Justice to claim: "We are guilty of helping
illegal immigrants. We should be charged for the crime of solidarity"
( in agreement with the article 21 of the 1945 law and article 12 of Chevenement
- To be followed...
A hope in Lille
- In Lille, I am visiting with emotion 22 illegal immigrants (deprived
of a legal permit to stay in France often following a change in the immigration
laws) at their 37th day of hunger strike. They are weak and laying on mattresses,
I stop to talk to each one. Looks and handshakes tell a lot. It brings
to my mind the rite of "washing of feet" when I kneel in front
- The new Prefect of the region has waived 16 of them, six are left over.
The hunger strikers express their wish: " Go and see the Prefect and
tell him that we will continue our hunger strike until the other six are
waived. We keep showing our solidarity towards them. As well as being illegal
immigrants, we are human beings, with all our dignity!"
- We go on the Great Square, full of light and of people attending the
demonstration. In the crowd, two young colored men come to me: " We
want to shake your hand for what you are doing" and the other one
adds" and above all, never be corrupted" I am full of admiration
for this statement.
- The Prefect, contacted, immediately accepted to receive some of us.
Very rare case! As soon as we enter the great reception room, he was waiting
for us. He introduced us into his office, alone with all of us. What a
difference compare with other cities, where we were waiting for hours,
without any information, and then having to leave without seeing anybody.
- The Prefect listens, takes note. When he speaks, it is not to give
a lesson or to recall his Administrative duties, he accepts to reconsider
the six cases. And for one who raises a specific problem, he will carefully
examine it before contacting us again. This is a behavior that we are not