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Public health in the Calais refugee camp: environment, health and exclusion

Dhesi, Surindar; Isakjee, Arshad; Davies, Thom


Surindar Dhesi

Arshad Isakjee


© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The ongoing emergency for refugees is having profound and hidden health consequences for thousands of displaced persons who live in informal ‘makeshift’ camps across Europe. This interdisciplinary paper reports the results of the first environmental health assessment in such a location, in what was Europe’s largest informal refugee camp in 2016, in Calais, northern France. We detail the lack of facilities for sanitation, safe provision of food, water and shelter, demonstrating how conditions fall short of agreed international standards for formal refugee camps. Rather than the notion of migrants being the cause of health problems, this paper critically reveals the hidden materiality of bodily injury caused by poor health conditions, where the camp itself produces harm. Drawing upon theories of biopolitical exclusion, the paper concludes by (i) emphasising the empirical and conceptual themes that tie refugee politics and biologies together and (ii) makes a call for increased attention to makeshift camps as key sites of health exclusion in Europe and beyond.


Dhesi, S., Isakjee, A., & Davies, T. (2018). Public health in the Calais refugee camp: environment, health and exclusion. Critical Public Health, 28(2), 140-152.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Apr 19, 2017
Online Publication Date Jun 7, 2017
Publication Date Mar 15, 2018
Deposit Date Oct 29, 2018
Publicly Available Date Oct 29, 2018
Journal Critical Public Health
Print ISSN 0958-1596
Electronic ISSN 1469-3682
Publisher Routledge
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 28
Issue 2
Pages 140-152
Keywords Public health, refugee camps, environmental health, migration, exclusion
Public URL
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