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Asylum seekers

EU court blasts France for 'inhuman, degrading' conditions of asylum seekers

Young migrants in a camp in Paris,30 June 2020.
Young migrants in a camp in Paris,30 June 2020. REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes
2 min

France has shown a lack of respect for the dignity of three asylum seekers, the European Court of Human Rights (CEDH) has declared, slamming the “inhuman and degrading conditions” the men endured in France.

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The three single men, an Afghan, Russian and Iranian aged 27, 33 and 46 respectively, had been “unable to receive the material and financial support to which they were entitled under French law” the Strasbourg-based court found.

As a result they had been “forced to sleep rough in inhuman and degrading conditions for several months...having no means of subsistence and constantly in fear of being attacked or robbed”, according to the CEDH  statement.

The court concluded French authorities “had failed in their duties under domestic law” and were in breach of Article 3 of the Convention of Human Rights.

The statement came just a day after red tents were set up in the centre of Paris to draw attention to the lack of administrative support, protection and housing for migrant minors.

Read more: How coronavirus has affected the asylum procedure in France

La Cimade, a migrant rights support group, welcomed the verdict on Twitter.

Efforts made

The court acknowledged there were potentially mitigating circumstances such as  "the constant increase" in the numbers of asylum seekers since 2007, the "gradual saturation” of the National Reception Service.

It also noted that French authorities had "made efforts" to create additional accommodation in shelters and to reduce the time taken to examine asylum applications.

But “those circumstances did not rule out the possibility that the situation of asylum seekers might have engaged Article 3 of the Convention", it said.

It held that France was to pay 10,000 euros to two of the claimants and 12,000 euros to the third by way of compensation.

This is the fourth time that the CEDH has admonished France over migrants rights in the last month.

 

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