January update from the french-italian Border

This report is a snapshot of two weeks in January at the Italian-French border to get an impression of the situation in Oulx and Cesana as well as the neighboring locations in France during winter. Developments there are highly dynamic and depend on many factors, such as weather, political pressure, exact location and local support capacities. By the time this report is published, many things will have already changed.

Despite the sometimes extreme weather conditions with temperatures in double digits below zero, snowfall and avalanche danger, about 20-30 people a day crossed the border between Italy and France also in January. This dangerous and potentially deadly crossing of the border is further complicated by the fact that since the end of 2022 there have been no buses at all between the border towns of Claviere and Montgènevre. The bus service was stopped by the municipality and/or the local bus company in order to control the movement of people on this route. De facto, this leads to people having to take even more dangerous and significantly longer routes on foot across the mountains. There are also increasing reports from activists and People on the Move about the use of drones by French border guards to track escape routes and push-back people on the move. During the two weeks of our stay, we also received reports of push-backs.