Last week, seven associations urgently referred to the administrative court in order to oblige the State to reopen the recording of asylum applications in Île-de-France.
This week, the court gave its judgement and ruled in the associations’ favor. It obliges prefectures and the French Office for Immigration and Integration (OFII) to “resume recording asylum applications to put an end to the serious and clearly illegal disturbance of the right to asylum by adopting any measure in order to stop this disturbance and guaranteeing the safety of people, in a two-day period or suffer a 3000-euro penalty for each day’s delay”.
As a matter of fact, the administrative court judged the bill on the health emergency passed this past March 23rd was not to deny asylum seekers this fundamental right.
The court also demands the “reopening of the multilingual hotline (of the Ofii) devoted to fix an one-stop appointment for asylum seeker (Guda), to record asylum application” and obliges all of the State players to resume the asylum chain in France to enable seekers to enjoy an accommodation and a grant.
Underlining an “institutional abuse”, the seven associations are pleased with the decision of the administrative court, pointing a “totally new situation: taking the Covid-19 epidemic as a pretext, prefectural services have slowly closed and this March 22nd, 2020, the Ofii announced it was suspending its access to its hotline, preventing any asylum application in Île-de-France, as a consequence, any assumption of those they are supposed to protect”.
“But what will happen tomorrow? Can we hope and see the Secretary of the Interior, prefectures and the Ofii comply with the judge’s decision? We have reasons to doubt” the Human Right League, the Acat, the Gisti and the different associations behind the emergency interim proceedings. “If this decision is ignored once again, we will keep on fighting so that people waiting to be protect can assert their rights”.
This Thursday April 30, reinforcing the injunction of the administrative court, the Council of State also ordered the State to resume recording asylum applications in Île-de-France. The judge of the emergency interim proceedings, Christophe Chatepy, writes on his order: “The Secretary of the Interior is enjoined to resume in Ile-de-France and in a five day-time starting from the notification of this order and in the health conditions imposed by Covid-19 the recording of asylum applications, in priority those coming from people being especially vulnerable”.
While the migration flux are “globally on hold” during this confinement period and amid the coronavirus epidemic, the decision of the Council of State aims at supporting “seekers who were here long before the health crisis and applying for asylum to enjoy the grant” devoted to them, head of the French Office for Immigration and Integration Didier Leschi says.
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