How we’re helping in France

A migrant looks out over the Adour river in Bayonne.
France 2018 © Mohammad Ghannam
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Learn more about how we are responding to the coronavirus pandemic in France.

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

In 2018, Doctors Without Borders/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 recognized 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 organizations in an MSF-run center 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. 


MSF projects in France

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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 959 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 organizations and volunteers in Calais, Bayonne, Nantes, and Paris.

Join the MSF movement to help in France and other countries