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The third transnational meeting of the dialogue platform of the future
project took place in Roubaix, France from 27th to 30th of June 2007 and was organised by the French partner ADICE.
This meeting was opened in the first morning by an international seminar
which gave the opportunity to local French actors involved on issues like
immigration, integration, antidiscrimination to be informed on FUTURE project
and to inform our European partners about French realities and actions in our
field of concern, especially on the regional territory of Nord Pas de Calais
and its long tradition of immigration.
Julie Devès from ADICE opened the seminar by introducing FUTURE project
in general and the third transnational meeting in particular: objectives and
methods. Then, she gave the floor to Djamel Bénia , director of ADICE. Mr Bénia
introduced the programme of the morning and the interventions: Mr Youssef
Boujjema from DRIJE and Mr Abdellah Samate from AMMN (Association of Moroccan
minors of the North).
The first intervention was given by Mr Youssef Boujjema, director of
DRIJE (Dispositif regional d’information pour les jeunes étrangers) in Lille. According to Mr
Benia, this first presentation will give a good prospective of the actual
context for young migrants in France.
The DRIJE is one of the service of the regional organisation Point Jeune
which is a meeting place for youngsters at risk. It offers psychological
support, guidance, information and emergency support for minors (shelter).
Mr Boujjema gave a short historical back ground of the creation of the
service. It was inspired from a Belgian service “Youth Rights”. and was
initially a militant initiative before being progressively considered as a public
Thus, they are now cooperating with Justice services and the ACSE
(National agency for social cohesion and equal opportunity).
Then Mr Boujjema introduced the management of the service. At the
beginning, they gave different meeting time to people according to their
nationality (French/foreigners) because of different related problems. But they
realised it was discriminatory and eventually open the service to anybody in
the afternoon.
The service offers individual support on issues like the right to work,
housing, health, education, penal right. They also propose some collective
times and the intervention of professional in each field (lawyers,
psychologist, educators, doctors…)
The respect of their rights is considered as a mean for integration and
expression of citizenship. Youngsters are also invited to consider collective
rights as being member of a community. Mr Boujjema gave there his vision of
what citizenship should be, above a juridical link between a person and a
national state. It shouldn’t be based on issues like common history or
language, but on a common believe and commitment to democracy and its universal
Young beneficiaries are teenagers (minors) and youngsters till 25 years
Regarding young migrants/foreigners, the main issues are dealing with
access to French territory, access to French nationality, marriage, access to
school (illegal immigrants), access to justice, health,
Concerning discrimination issues (mainly with the police), it is very
difficult to deal with it because the difficulty to prove it. Youngsters feel powerless,
ashamed, afraid and alone. They need to share it and to identify to others who
have experimented the same situation.
Then members of the assistance ask some questions to Mr Boujjema:
1-What is the statute of your organisation? The Point Jeune is a non profit
organisation member of the Sauvegarde du Nord (Childhood prevention).
2- what is the age of your beneficiaries? They are under 25, and the
majority is between 17 and 21.
3- What are the relations with the public prosecutor and how do they get
their figures concerning discrimination complains? There is a strong link
between the prosecutor of Lille and the Point Jeune because he is personally sensitised to the issue and feel it is important to fight. All figures are public and can be asked to the justice services.
4-how is applied the European directives about discriminations? The
problem is that EU directive are only applied in France in the field of work, so it
is dealt mainly with the Working laws.
5-How do they deal with the problem of proof of discrimination?
Youngsters are not in a logic of protecting themselves, so they are few written
proofs; it is difficult to find testimonies. When discrimination appears
regularly in a place, the prosecutor is informed.
The second intervention was made by Mr Abdellah Samate, former worker in
coal mines, now retired and active in the Association of Moroccan minors of the
North, working on recognition of rights and issues of migrant memories. His
testimony was a good assessment about the link between migrant generations,
culture and integration.
Mr Samate introduces the historical background of his life as a migrant
coal minor. When the mines closed, migrants were excluded from some
compensations: cheap housing, job reconversion. It was very difficult to find a
new job for those who stayed. Obviously, there was a will of exclusion, especially for those coming from former French colonies (North Africa), mainly because they were supposed to go back to their home countries. But it was impossible:
members of family came to France, French social rights couldn’t be obtained out of the territory, and they could feel roots with their past life in their original country.
A lot of organisations were created for the recognition of migrants workers right, for their families and those born in France: right to vote, right for former fighter (WWII), discrimination…
The audience was very interested by the testimony of Mr Samate and a lot
of people wanted to ask questions about his life. But it was time to close the
morning. Lunch was an informal time to complete the debate.