PARIS, 15 January 2021 – A Guinean, Laye Fode Traore, will no longer be deported from France after his employer used a hunger strike to win hearts and the right for him to stay.
Traore was going to turn 18, the age at which minors who came to France illegally or who live in France “without papers”, lose their protection and are put on a deportation list.
Traore had entered France unaccompanied at the age of 16 after trekking through parts of the Sahara Desert and surviving the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea into Europe.
The Guinean was granted the right to stay on in France by the prefecture of Haute-Saone which has jurisdiction over Besancon, eastern France, where Traore worked as an apprentice at the bakery owned by Stephane Ravacley, his employer and sponsor.
The prefecture called Ravacley Thursday to give him the good news.
Traore had been employed since 2019 at the bakery.
Ravacley says he was impressed by Traore, his determination to learn, his discipline, commitment to work and desire to help family members left back in Africa and decided to lead for his deportation to be waived.
The baker, who is 50 years old, had to be rushed to a hospital after he grew very weak from the hunger strike which he started last January 3.
An online perition which the baker had used as an additional tool garnered 420,000 signatures in support.
A number of French stars wrote to French President Emmanuel Macron urging him to intervene and help prevent Ravacley from “fasting to death”.
The petition called on Macron to take action to show his personal support for the baker who put “his life in danger in defense of humanist values”.