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European Court of Human Rights condemns France over ‘inhuman’ living conditions for asylum-seekers

Volunteers from Médecins Sans Frontières and Utopia 56 at a park in Paris after helping migrants set up tents on June 29, 2020.
Volunteers from Médecins Sans Frontières and Utopia 56 at a park in Paris after helping migrants set up tents on June 29, 2020. © Christophe Archambault, AFP
2 min

The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday condemned France for the “inhuman and degrading living conditions” of three asylum-seekers who were “living in the street without any resources”. 

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The Strasbourg-based court ruled that authorities “had failed in their duties” with regard to the three asylum-seekers, finding France responsible for the conditions in which the three men – an Afghan, a Russian and an Iranian aged 27, 33, and 46, respectively – “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 court ruled “the applicants had thus been victims of degrading treatment, showing a lack of respect for their dignity”.

The ruling noted that two of the asylum-seekers received a Temporary Allowance after several months of waiting and the court said that before being able to register as asylum-seekers, the men “had been forced to survive for a certain period of time without any evidence of that status”.

It also took care to stress “that it was aware of the constant increase in the number of asylum-seekers since 2007 and of the gradual saturation” of reception facilities and noted “the efforts made by the French authorities to create additional accommodation and to reduce the time taken to examine asylum applications”.

“However, those circumstances did not rule out the possibility that the situation of asylum-seekers might have engaged Article 3” of the European Convention on Human Rights on prohibiting degrading and inhuman treatment, the court said.

The ECHR’s ruling was unanimous, ordering France to pay between €10,000 and €12,000 to each of the three asylum-seekers.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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