At French Outpost in African Migrant Hub, Asylum for a Select Few

Bénédicte Jeannerod, who heads a French bureau of Human Rights Watch, was reduction a censor of a module itself than of a scale. “I’ve told Pascal Brice that as prolonged as it works, make it bigger,” he said.

But a intensity problems of creation a module incomparable were clear in a day of interviews during a breathless United Nations core in Niamey.


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One new Saturday night, 136 Eritreans and Somalis were flown to Niamey by a United Nations, all intensity possibilities for haven interviews with a French.

The dozens of haven seekers already there waited pensively, looking quiescent as they sat on benches, betraying no pointer of a import of what a French emissary arch of a goal had to offer.

“If we are chosen, we will shortly be in France,” Ms. Bergier-Diallo told them, pronouncing a difference solemnly and deliberately. “And we are delighted.”

Indeed, if a refugees pass muster, a rewards are enormous: a giveaway craft sheet to France, giveaway housing, hassle-free chateau papers and giveaway French lessons.

The French agents, unbending and grave in their doubt that could final good over an hour, inquired relentlessly about a refugees’ family ties, unfeeling in substantiating a account of their shun and suffering.


A interloper who transient from Libya showed scars from cigarettes on her physique and on her 2-year-old child.

Dmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

The thought was to “establish a family context,” in an bid to endorse a flawlessness of a refugees’ origins, pronounced one French official, Lucie.

(Sensitive to security, a French authorities asked that a final names of their agents and those of a refugees not be published).

Shewit, a diminutive, bespectacled 26-year-old Eritrean woman, was asked either she ever phoned her family, and if so what they talked about.


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“Only about my health,” Shewit said. “I never tell them where we am.”

Mariam, 27, told a French representative she had been raped and ostracized in her village, and feared going behind since “the people who raped me are still there.”

“They could rape me again,” pronounced Mariam, an ignorant animal herder from Somaliland.

Even if she finds reserve in France, integrating her into multitude will be a formidable challenge. Mariam had never attended any propagandize and looked doubtful when a French representative told her to mislay her conduct scarf.

Wearing a headband “is not probable in a French administration, or in schools,” Emoline, a agent, pronounced kindly to Mariam in English, by an interpreter.

Then there was Welella, an 18-year-old Eritrean lady who, before being discovered from adjacent Libya, had spent time in a interloper stay in Sudan, where she endured what she simply called “punishments.”

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