Place of detention

France

Country Report: Place of detention Last updated: 30/11/20

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Administrative detention centres (CRA)

 

Administrative detention centres (CRA) are controlled and managed by the border police. Under the law, these administrative detention centres are not part of the regular prison administration. Placement in an administrative detention centre results from an administrative decision (not a judicial decision). Despite being held together with other third-country nationals, asylum seekers are never held with common law criminals or prisoners.

At the end of 2019, there were 22 CRA on French territory, including in overseas departments. Following table provides statistics on the occupancy of these CRA for the years 2017 and 2018, as statistics on the year 2019 were not available at the time of writing:

 

CRA

Persons detained in 2017

Persons detained in 2018

Mainland France

Bordeaux

365

412

Coquelles

3,786

2,824

Hendaye

Temporarily closed in 2017

358

Lille-Lesquin

2,728

1,952

Lyon-Saint Exupéry

1,395

1,498

Marseille

1,289

1,187

Mesnil-Amelot (2 facilities)

3,476

2,827

Metz-Queuleu

1,768

1,584

Nice

1,029

810

Nimes

925

1,190

Palaiseau

600

462

Paris-Palais de Justice

403

158. Closed on 22 April 2019

Paris-Vincennes (3 facilities)

3,648

4,504

Perpignan

883

750

Plaisir

416

362

Rennes

1,072

1,179

Rouen-Oissel

1,167

1,276

Sète

401

494

Strasbourg-Geispolsheim

(temporarily closed in 2017)

528

Toulouse-Cornebarrieu

1,069

1,302

Overseas

Guadeloupe

263

345

Guyane

1,486

1,857

Mayotte

17,934

16,496

Total

 

 

 

Source: Assfam et al., 2018 Detention report.

 

Some CRA have specific places for women and families, including Hendaye (6 out of 30 places), Mesnil-Amelot (40 out of 240), Rennes (12 out of 70 places), Rouen-Oissel (19 out of 72 places) and Guyane (12 out of 38 places).

 

Places of administrative detention (LRA)

 

There are 26 administrative detention places (LRA) in France, including overseas departments.[1] According to the Ministry of Interior, about 2,242 foreigners have been detained in LRA in 2018, of which 1,702 on the mainland and 540 overseas, but no data are available about each LRA.

 

Waiting zones at the border

 

In the context of the Border Procedure, asylum seekers are held in a waiting zone while awaiting a decision on their application for an authorisation to enter the territory on asylum grounds.[2]

There is no public data on the exact number of waiting zones in France and their capacity. According to the Ministry of Interior, quoted in a report by Anafé published in 2018, there were 67 waiting zones in 2015.[3] More recent information quoted by ECRE referred to asylum applications registered in 13 waiting zones, located in:[4]

  • Paris Roissy CDG Airport
  • Paris Orly Airport
  • Paris Beauvais Airport
  • Marseille Airport
  • Marseille Port
  • Lyon – Saint Exupéry Airport
  • Toulouse Blagnac Airport
  • Bâle-Mulhouse Airport
  • Bordeaux Airport
  • Nantes Airport
  • Nice Airport
  • Strasbourg Airport
  • La Réunion

Waiting zones may include accommodation “hotel-type services” as is currently the case for the waiting zone of ​​the Paris Roissy CDG Airport (in the ZAPI 3 – zone d’attente pour personnes en instance), which can receive up to 160 people. In other waiting zones, the material accommodation conditions vary: third country nationals are sometimes held in a nearby hotel (like in Orly airport at night) or in rooms within police stations. Not all are equipped with hotel type services. In Marseille, the accommodation facility of the waiting zone is located in the premises of the CRA of Marseille, located near the city centre.

In these accommodation areas, there should be an area for lawyers to hold confidential meetings with the foreign nationals. In practice, those are only established in the Roissy CDG airport (ZAPI 3) and can accommodate up to 160 persons. In the other waiting zones, the material conditions for accommodation can vary greatly: foreign nationals are sometimes accommodated in a nearby hotel (like in Orly at night time), or in rooms within police stations. They do not all have access to “hotel-type” services.

Finally, in Alpes-Maritimes, an informal “temporary detention zone” has been set up in the premises of the Menton Border Police in 2017 to detain newly arrived migrants from Italy for short periods before their removal from the country.

9,450 persons were detained in a waiting zone in 2017, and 5,371 in the first 7 months of 2018.[5] More recent data was not available, however.

 


[1]  The total number of LRA is not stable and permanent as these detention facilities can be created upon a decision of the Prefet.

[2] These are not formally designated as detention centres, but asylum seekers cannot leave these areas (except to return to their country) until an authorisation to let them enter the French territory or a decision to return them is taken.

[3]  Anafé, Aux frontières des vulnérabilités, February 2018, available in French at: https://bit.ly/2T0CtTc, 72.

[4] ECRE, Access to asylum and detention at France’s borders, June 2018, 16.

[5] National Assembly, Avis sur le projet de loi de finances 2019, 12 October 2018, 95.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • ANNEX I – Transposition of the CEAS in national legislation