A simple map showing the shape of Northern France


The number of displaced people in Northern France continuously fluctuates because the community it hosts is highly transient. Many people reach Northern France after months of travel, hoping to cross the English Channel to the UK. Calais and the surrounding area host around 2,000 refugees, which will likely increase given the situation in Ukraine. In 2021, an estimated 35,382 people attempted to cross the English Channel, almost three times as many as in 2020. This is likely due to other routes being closed or more challenging to access rather than an overall increase in people seeking asylum. Many people making this journey speak English, have family or friends in the UK, and/or have been subject to state violence in other countries, deterring them from claiming asylum there.

Government Response

Displaced people in France face “inhuman and degrading living conditions, as well as police abuse and harassment.” The state sometimes provides emergency shelter during particularly cold weather, but almost all migrants are forced to live outside in makeshift camps. Police minimise livable areas and frequently seize property. Human Rights Observers witnessed at least 156 evictions in February alone, and roughly 627 tents and tarps were destroyed across Calais and Grande-Synthe. These evictions regularly subject people to violence and police brutality.

News Updates

French pledge to support Ukrainians in Moldova


France pledged €3 million to the United Nations World Food Programme to aid Ukrainian refugees and their Moldovan host families. The World Food Programme created an office in Moldova in March 2022 that provides three meals per day to Ukrainian refugees.

Sunak and Macron Franco-British summit


Rishi Sunak and Emmanuel Macron met at the first Franco-British summit in five years. Among other agreements, they announced a new detention centre in Dunkirk, a joint enforcement team, and increased surveillance measures intended to keep displaced people from crossing the Channel in small boats.

UN Statement on the UK's newly introduced asylum bill


The UN released a statement voicing profound concern over the UK’s asylum bill introduced to the House of Commons. The UK Government claims this bill will stop small boat crossings from France. The UN states, “This would be a clear breach of the Refugee Convention and would undermine a longstanding, humanitarian tradition of which the British people are rightly proud.”

Indian are now the Third Largest Group Crossing the English Channel


Indian are now the Third Largest Group Crossing the English Channel: UK Home Office

Ukrainian Refugees Stuck At UK-France Border


The war in Ukraine has led many Ukrainian nationals to seek temporary refuge in Calais while attempting to seek asylum in the UK. As of March 8th, around 600 Ukrainian refugees are in Calais.