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France court allows closure of migrant camp

[JURIST] An administrative court [official website, in French] in Lille, France, on Tuesday rejected requests from almost a dozen aid groups and permitted the closure process [Reuters report] of the "Jungle" migrant camp near Calais to continue. President François Hollande [profile] has promised closure of the camp as pressure for such a result grows while the April election approaches, and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve [official profile, in French] stated that the demolition project is only days away. The groups were seeking postponement of the closure in order to better organize relocation of the migrants, but the court determined that the closure seeks to prevent inhuman treatment that migrants are currently subjected to at the camp [Independent report]. While another concern was the transport of unaccompanied minors, the transfers are to be done pursuant to the Dublin Regulations [materials], which in part governs family reunification.

The rights of migrant populations has emerged as one of the most significant humanitarian issues around the world, as millions seek asylum from conflict nations. Hungarian citizens gathered at the beginning of October to vote on a European Union (EU) referendum regarding the relocation of refugees and migrants among member states [JURIST report], but low voter turnout invalidated the vote [JURIST report]. Ahead of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants last month, UN experts urged [JURIST report] states to protect women and girls in the movement of refugees and migrants by adhering to international human rights conventions and standards. Last month Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said that the draft of the final outcome document for the UN summit on refugees fell short of dealing with the issue effectively [JURIST report]. According to the rights groups, the UN is missing an opportunity by not proposing anything of substance. Austrian Interior Minister Wolfgang Sobotka said [JURIST report] earlier last month that Austria will take Hungary to the International Court of Justice if Hungary does not begin accepting returning migrants that crossed into Austria from Hungary. In August the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein expressed concern [JURIST report] over Bulgaria's criminalization of migrants leaving and entering the country.

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