ECHR to condemn France over “inhuman living conditions” for asylum-seekers

Published by Cécile D. · Published on 3 July 2020 at 14h36
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned France over lack of assistance to asylum-seekers, having to live “in the street” and “without any resources”. This is the fourth time this month that the ECHR condemns France.

This Thursday July 2, the European Court of Human Rights has condemned France over violation of article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights prohibiting any inhuman or degrading treatment. According to the seven judges of the Court, France “failed in their duties” of taking material and financial care of the three asylum-seekers. The French authorities have been condemned to pay €10,000 to two of the plaintiffs, and €12,000 to the third one for non-pecuniary damage.

Three men have been found living in unbearable conditions. A 27-year-old Afghan, a 46-year-old Iranian, and a 33-year-old Russian who have been living rough for several months. Their asylum application and the one to get Temporary Allowance, a living wage given by French governmental agency helping unemployed people to find jobs and providing them with financial aid (Pôle Emploi) to some job seekers and foreigners of regular status in France, took way too long to be treated.

In a press release, Strasbourg-based Court – entrusted with making sure human rights are respected within the 47 countries of the European Council – explains the French authorities “were found responsible for the conditions in which the applicants had been living for several months: sleeping rough, without access to sanitary facilities, having no means of subsistence and constantly in fear of being attacked or robbed. The applicants had thus been victims of degrading treatment, showing a lack of respect for their dignity.”

The Court also stressed it was aware of the “constant increase in the number of asylum-seekers since 2007 and of the gradual saturation of the National Reception Service” making application process harder. Yet, facts presented did not happen in “an exceptional humanitarian emergency”. Consequently, France is held responsible for “degrading treatment” these men suffered and showing – according to judges – a “lack of respect for their dignity”.

This is the fourth time in a month that the ECHR condemns France. Back on June 25, the Court also condemned the expeditious deportation of two children from the Comoros who were three and five years old, and who illegally entered Mayotte. both children have been put in detention center with unknown adults and deported without their father – legally living in Mayotte – could contact them, and without attentive examination of their situation. By this action, France has violated seven provisions of the European Convention on Human Rights.

On June 4th, the country has been condemned for not properly protected Marina, an eight-year-old girl, who has been hit to death by her parents back in 2009 even though reported to justice. And on June 12, authorities have been punished for having violated the freedom of speech of pro-Palestine activists, condemned in 2013 by the Colmar Court of Appeal, after organizing a boycotting of products imported from Israel.

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