Unaccompanied minors who arrive in France are often traumatised by violence and abuse suffered on their journey and end up in inadequate reception facilities, facing a maze of obstructionist bureaucracy.

MSF's response to coronavirus in France

19 March 2020

In consultation with France’s health authorities, MSF is setting up activities to help detect and manage COVID-19 cases among the most vulnerable populations in Paris and the surrounding region.

People in precarious situations, such as migrants, the homeless and unaccompanied minors, are often in poor health due to their living conditions and exclusion from healthcare systems, making them more vulnerable to the epidemic.

MSF's response to COVID-19 in France will include mobile consultations and screening to reach these groups, and support with diagnosis, isolation and case management in both existing and prospective shelters.

Learn more about covid-19 >

Large numbers of refugees and migrants continue to live in inhumane conditions in a hostile environment in France.

In Paris, northern France and at the border with Italy, migrants and refugees encounter policies and practices aimed at preventing them from settling or claiming their rights. 
Forced to hide from the authorities, they are increasingly invisible to the local population. This leaves them vulnerable to abuse and violence.

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MSF's work in France: 2018

In 2018, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) focused on assisting young, unaccompanied migrants, especially those whose applications for child protection had been turned down as 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 787 minors benefited from these services in 2018. More than 430 legal appeals were filed; while most were still pending at the end of the year, 94 were successful and the minors concerned were eventually placed under the care of child protection services.

In partnership with Utopia 56, an association that helps migrants, we developed a network of volunteer families in southern France to host minors throughout the course of their appeal, during which time they are excluded from any protection or assistance from the state.

We also run mobile clinics in Paris, through which almost 1,000 medical consultations were carried out in 2018.

Our teams continued to monitor the situation across the country throughout the year, especially along the borders with Italy and Spain. In 2018, French border police continued to forcibly return people to Italy and Spain, preventing them from applying for asylum, in violation of the law.

We also made donations, including 10,000 blankets, to support other organisations and volunteers in Calais, Bayonne, Nantes and Paris.



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