France: Detention still a primary instrument of migration control

The annual report on administrative detention in France, published today by six civil society organisations present in detention centres, details the systematic use of deprivation of liberty as a primary instrument of migration control.

Last year, France detained 45,937 persons in administrative detention centres (CRA) and other places of administrative detention (LRA) scattered across the territory and overseas. The year 2016 drew a particularly strong link between detention and camp management policies, where the dismantlement of settlements in Paris, Calais and Metz, as well as unlawful evictions (décasages) in Mayotte, resulted in people being placed in detention, often to the detriment of their personal situation and in contravention of legal standards.

People detained in the French mainland in 2016 mainly originated from Algeria, Albania, Morocco, Tunisia, Romania and Afghanistan. On the other hand, nearly half (21,847) of the total number of persons detained were held overseas. According to the organisations, including ECRE members Forum réfugies - Cosi and France terre d'asile, the majority of those detained in Mayotte came from Comoros, while nationals of Haiti were the main nationality detained in Guiana.

The number of children detained last year was 4,507, with the vast majority of detentions (4,325) applied in Mayotte alone.

The report also notes that Dublin transfers of asylum seekers make up more than 10% of France’s deportations within the European Union. The impetus of the French authorities towards a stricter application of the Dublin Regulation, in particular through the systematic use of house arrest and deprivation of liberty, has led to an increase in Dublin returns following detention, from 500 in 2015 to 1,000 in 2016. The French approach echoes a Europe-wide trend of legal and infrastructural expansion of detention.

 

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About AIDA

The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti