Top French court approves closure of unlicensed cafes, shops within Calais Jungle migrant camp

 A photo shows a view of the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais on Oct 12, 2016.
A photo shows a view of the "Jungle" migrant camp in Calais on Oct 12, 2016. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - France's top administrative court on Wednesday approved the government's plans to shut down unlicensed cafes and shops in the Calais "Jungle" migrant camp, which is set to to be razed within weeks.

Overturning a lower court decision in favour of the shopowners, the Council of State ruled their premises were "unhygienic" and a "serious fire hazard".

In its ruling it backed the authorities' claim that the shops and cafes were being used for smuggling activities that had "caused tension and violence".

The decision comes as the state prepares to dismantle the camp in northern France where between 7,000 and 10,000 migrants live crammed in tents in squalid conditions.

Asylum seekers are to be moved to shelters around the country. Many shops and cafes in the camp had already closed.

In August, a court in the city of Lille had ruled they should be allowed to remain open, saying they fulfilled an important social role for the migrants.

Calais is a magnet for migrants trying to reach Britain by stowing away on trucks heading across the Channel from France.

Around 1,000 unaccompanied minors are among those living in the "Jungle".