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Shanty towns protected by eviction ban

People living in shanty towns, squats and other slum structures are now protected by the annual winter eviction ban

The ban, known as the winter truce or trêve hivernale, runs from November 1 to March 31. The law was changed this year to cover “inhabited places” rather than “living quarters”, giving protection to people who live in these conditions across France.

Loïc Blanchard, the legal director of Doctors of the World (Médecins du monde) told Le Monde that the change is “a real step forward”, giving some basic protection to people in the most precarious living conditions.

It allows people to focus on schooling, work and finding somewhere to live, and could act as a “springboard” to help them get out of the shanty towns, said Manon Fillonneau of human rights group Romeurope.

However, many authorities across France have worked to evict people before the ban came into force. More than 10,000 people have been evicted from a shanty town or squat in 2016, according to Romeurope. Where alterative accommodation is offered, it is usually just for a few nights.

Authorities can also evict people during the trêve period if they can convince a judge that the properties put the inhabitants at risk, or that the occupants got in to the structure or building by force.

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