Hundreds of refugees living rough in Paris, many of whom hoped to reach the UK, claim they have been subject to abuse from French citizens, including physical attacks and sexual violence, according to new research.
From a sample of almost 300 refugees – around 10% of the 2,950 migrants sleeping rough in the French capital – it emerged that 42% of respondents did not feel safe.
The study was conducted by London-based human rights charity Refugee Rights Europe and is one of the largest independent studies of refugees stranded in Paris. It found that 75% of respondents said they had experienced verbal abuse by French citizens, most usually racial abuse.
One 29-year-old from Sudan said: “They told me: ‘You can’t be here. You make it dirty here. This place is full of you and we are fed up.’ ”
One 29-year-old from Sudan said: “They told me: ‘You can’t be here. You make it dirty here. This place is full of you and we are fed up.’ ” The study, published this week, also reveals that a fifth of respondents claimed they had suffered physical violence by Parisians, while 5% stated that they had experienced sexual abuse from French citizens. More than one in 10 said they knew at least one refugee who had died while stranded in Paris. One 29-year-old man from Afghanistan told researchers: “I have known many people who died here. They killed themselves. It is because of the bad life here.”