Research exclusively published by The Independent shows that men, women and children are being beaten and tear gassed by officers in the French capital, despite government pledges to shelter vulnerable people.
Eritrean families said they were told to “get out of France” as police tore away children’s blankets, leaving them without protection as the bitter temperatures plummeted to -7C.
Natalie Stanton, deputy director of the Refugee Rights Data Project, said researchers were confronted by “alarming” scenes in the La Chapelle area, where authorities have launched numerous clearance operations in recent months.
“While we were there we witnessed the police taking people’s belongings – some in the night, some in the daytime – it’s quite a visible phenomenon,” she added.
“The same night the government announced a plan to keep everyone warm, we witnessed police picking up blankets and putting them in a big rubbish bin on the back of a truck, then driving away.”
Almost two thirds of homeless refugees interviewed said they had been woken up and forced to move, with 54 per cent describing the experience as “violent” and saying they were afraid, having been given no reason for the intervention.
One 45-year-old man told researchers an officer kicked him so hard in the shoulder that he was admitted to hospital for the next 20 days for treatment, while others described being tear gassed if they did not move quickly enough.
According to one young Afghan man: “If we question them or say we have nowhere to go, they bring out the tear gas.”
Around 37 per cent of respondents said they had experienced other forms of police violence in Paris, including physical beatings and verbal abuse, while a third had sleeping bags, tents, blankets, clothes and other belongings taken by police or other rough sleepers.
“Some people had such horrendous experiences during their journeys that it’s just another problem,” Ms Stanton said.
Refugee crisis - in pictures
Refugee crisis - in pictures
A child looks through the fence at the Moria detention camp for migrants and refugees at the island of Lesbos on May 24, 2016.
Ahmad Zarour, 32, from Syria, reacts after his rescue by MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) while attempting to reach the Greek island of Agathonisi, Dodecanese, southeastern Agean Sea
Syrian migrants holding life vests gather onto a pebble beach in the Yesil liman district of Canakkale, northwestern Turkey, after being stopped by Turkish police in their attempt to reach the Greek island of Lesbos on 29 January 2016.
Refugees flash the 'V for victory' sign during a demonstration as they block the Greek-Macedonian border
Migrants have been braving sub zero temperatures as they cross the border from Macedonia into Serbia.
A sinking boat is seen behind a Turkish gendarme off the coast of Canakkale's Bademli district on January 30, 2016. At least 33 migrants drowned on January 30 when their boat sank in the Aegean Sea while trying to cross from Turkey to Greece.
A general view of a shelter for migrants inside a hangar of the former Tempelhof airport in Berlin, Germany
Refugees protest behind a fence against restrictions limiting passage at the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija. Since last week, Macedonia has restricted passage to northern Europe to only Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans who are considered war refugees. All other nationalities are deemed economic migrants and told to turn back. Macedonia has finished building a fence on its frontier with Greece becoming the latest country in Europe to build a border barrier aimed at checking the flow of refugees
A father and his child wait after being caught by Turkish gendarme on 27 January 2016 at Canakkale's Kucukkuyu district
Migrants make hand signals as they arrive into the southern Spanish port of Malaga on 27 January, 2016 after an inflatable boat carrying 55 Africans, seven of them women and six chidren, was rescued by the Spanish coast guard off the Spanish coast.
A refugee holds two children as dozens arrive on an overcrowded boat on the Greek island of Lesbos
A child, covered by emergency blankets, reacts as she arrives, with other refugees and migrants, on the Greek island of Lesbos, At least five migrants including three children, died after four boats sank between Turkey and Greece, as rescue workers searched the sea for dozens more, the Greek coastguard said
Migrants wait under outside the Moria registration camp on the Lesbos. Over 400,000 people have landed on Greek islands from neighbouring Turkey since the beginning of the year
The bodies of Christian refugees are buried separately from Muslim refugees at the Agios Panteleimonas cemetery in Mytilene, Lesbos
Macedonian police officers control a crowd of refugees as they prepare to enter a camp after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
A refugee tries to force the entry to a camp as Macedonian police officers control a crowd after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
Refugees are seen aboard a Turkish fishing boat as they arrive on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing a part of the Aegean Sea from the Turkish coast to Lesbos
An elderly woman sings a lullaby to baby on a beach after arriving with other refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
A man collapses as refugees make land from an overloaded rubber dinghy after crossing the Aegean see from Turkey, at the island of Lesbos
A girl reacts as refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
Refugees make a show of hands as they queue after crossing the Greek border into Macedonia near Gevgelija
People help a wheelchair user board a train with others, heading towards Serbia, at the transit camp for refugees near the southern Macedonian town of Gevgelija
Refugees board a train, after crossing the Greek-Macedonian border, near Gevgelija. Macedonia is a key transit country in the Balkans migration route into the EU, with thousands of asylum seekers - many of them from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia - entering the country every day
An aerial picture shows the "New Jungle" refugee camp where some 3,500 people live while they attempt to enter Britain, near the port of Calais, northern France
A Syrian girl reacts as she helped by a volunteer upon her arrival from Turkey on the Greek island of Lesbos, after having crossed the Aegean Sea
Refugees arrive by boat on the Greek island of Lesbos after crossing the Aegean sea from Turkey
Beds ready for use for migrants and refugees are prepared at a processing center on January 27, 2016 in Passau, Germany. The flow of migrants arriving in Passau has dropped to between 500 and 1,000 per day, down significantly from last November, when in the same region up to 6,000 migrants were arriving daily.
“But some people were very shocked – in Europe they feel that human rights should be upheld and they didn’t expect to be treated like this.
“They were thinking they would have somewhere safe to sleep.”
Their experience is far from the impression projected by the French government, which unveiled a nationwide plan to get homeless people off the streets for their own health and safety while the research was being carried out.
Bruno Le Roux, the interior minister, admitted it was “difficult” to find all migrants shelter but refuted reports of police brutality and harassment.
“I absolutely do not share this vision,” he said in January. “What the police force is doing today is providing shelter for vulnerable people.”
Homeless people and concerned members of the public were directed to call the 115 hotline to be given shelter, but only a handful of migrants interviewed by the Refugee Rights Data Project were able to get through.
A woman who had been in Paris for a month on her own said: “I live on the streets and have no protection at all. I called 115 three times and they never showed up.
“It is so dangerous on the streets. I have no one here, and I am afraid to sleep with so many men around.”
More than half of the refugees interviewed said they were suffering from health problems – including a man who was back on the streets just a day after having his appendix removed – and others suffering from diabetes and mental illness.
Some had heard of other refugees dying in Paris, either of the cold, health problems or in violent attacks. Several refugees reported that a man had been run over crossing the road, while there were unconfirmed claims another had killed himself after despairing of the situation in Paris.
“He went to the top of a building and jumped off,” a migrant told researchers.
Some of those interviewed had been living in the French capital for several months, including around a quarter who previously spent time in the Calais “Jungle” and camps in Dunkirk, which were forcibly cleared by authorities.
Paris opened its first humanitarian centre in November after the closure of a large makeshift camp displaced thousands of migrants, but the facility has been overwhelmed and authorities ploughed ahead with a zero tolerance policy for roadside shelters.
Around three quarters of all migrants interviewed wanted to stay in France, and under 30 per cent were hoping to reach the UK.
However, the figure rocketed for children aged 17 and under, with just over half saying they wanted to journey onwards to Britain.
They included a 16-year-old boy who had applied to be reunited with his four siblings living in the UK but never received a response.
Researchers said almost all minors interviewed were unaccompanied, meaning they may have been eligible for Government transfer under the Dubs Amendment.
But after taking just 350 children the commitment was quietly scrapped by the Home Office last week, sparking outrage from humanitarian groups.
The Refugee Rights Data Project is calling for “sustainable” efforts by the French government to help get migrants off the streets and combat the “chronic absence of asylum information” that leaves the majority unaware of their rights or obligations.
The charity also called for the British Government to “step up and fulfil its moral obligations”.
Researchers interviewed more than 340 refugees and displaced people sleeping rough in the La Chapelle district of Paris between the 18 and 22 January for the report.
The majority of respondents were from Afghanistan, followed by Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and other mainly African countries.
The Paris Préfecture de Police declined to comment.