Refugees passing from Italy to France: The mountain pass of solidarity

As the European Commission presents its proposals for the forthcoming Pact on Migration and Asylum, we publish a report by photojournalist Valentina Camu, who followed a group of refugees on their journey from Italy to France.

Published on 17 December 2020 at 16:00

The refugees depart from Bardonecchia, the nearest station to Col de l’Échelle, a mountain pass which will take them to France. Since the risk of an avalanche is high, Swiss and Italian activists make sure the trails are safe.

The migrants’ lack of experience and equipment is also an issue, as well as the glacial temperatures, and the fact that journeys are usually undertaken by night. Refugees have already lost their lives in these mountains, while others reach French territory with injuries.

Once in Brainçon, they are met by the “Refuge Solidaire”, an emergency reception site which for the last three years has offered food, shelter, medical care and clothes, as well as legal advice and moral and psychological support. Briançon’s new conservative mayor, who intended to close the refuge by October 28 2020 at the latest, gave up on his plans for another six months after massive protests.   

Under the direction of Constance Decorde.

Click on a photo to start the slideshow:

👉 All articles of this series.

👉 Read also our series "Europes' dreamers" on young people without papers, visa or citizenship in the age of coronavirus, produced in collaboration with Lighthouse Reports and the Guardian.

In collaboration with the Heinrich Böll Foundation – Paris

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