Mayotte: What is Operation Wuambushu?
As part of an initiative to improve living conditions in Mayotte and tackle the problem of irregular immigration, France today resumed Operation Wuambushu after a month of suspension.
This Monday, May 22, Operation Wuambushu has just resumed, a demolition operation that has caused great controversy in Mayotte, a French department in the Indian Ocean. The target of this operation is a large area of precarious housing known as Talus 2, a large slum of about 135 tin shacks that houses many Comorian migrants in an irregular situation. The stated aim of this operation is to deport these migrants to the neighboring Comorian island of Anjouan while restoring security and sanitation to Mayotte. It should be noted that half of Mayotte’s population does not hold French nationality, making the migration issue even more complex.
The “Wuambushu” action is a response to the problems faced by the local authorities regarding the Mayotte slums, where large numbers of irregular migrants live in precarious and often unsanitary conditions. These slums have been described as “unsanitary” by the Regional Health Agency (ARS) and their demolition has been approved by a judge.
The denunciation of defense associations: The vViolation of migrants’ rights
Human rights and migrant protection organizations have denounced the brutality and violation of migrants’ rights in this demolition operation. Electricity and water were cut off, further worsening the already precarious living conditions of Talus 2 residents. For the associations, the coercive and punitive measures do not take into account the inherent vulnerability of this migrant population and contradict the principles of dignity and respect for fundamental rights.
Suspension and resumption of demolition
The demolition of Talus 2, originally scheduled for April 25, was suspended by the Mamoudzou Court due to the mobilization of associations and certain citizens sensitive to the situation of migrants. However, two new court decisions eventually ruled in favor of the state, allowing demolition work to resume after a month of suspension. While this about-face in the judiciary has provoked outrage among human rights defenders and heightened tensions over the situation, Operation Wuambushu resumed Monday: The operation began this morning at 7:30 a.m. local time (6:30 a.m Paris). It should last a week.
According to Thierry Suquet, the island’s prefect, the survey carried out allowed the identification of 86 families living in these slums, 40 of which have already been resettled. The aim of the campaign is to ensure decent living conditions for these families by providing them with suitable accommodation.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin expressed his support for Operation Wuambushu. above a message on Twitter highlighting the government’s efforts to demolish slums and offer resettlement solutions to families living there in degrading conditions.