France: Administrative Tribunal of Lille ruling on conditions in Calais

Monday, November 2, 2015

The president of the Administrative Tribunal of Lille has ruled (no. 1508747, 2 November 2015) on the application for interim relief filed by a coalition of NGOs, including ELENA-France, along with applicants from Eritrea, Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria. They requested a number of urgent measures to be taken to alleviate the current interferences to human dignity, right to respect for life, right to freedom from inhuman or degrading treatment and the right to asylum, faced by people living in the camp surrounding the Jules Ferry centre in Calais.

The judge first considered whether the challenge met the requirements of articles 521-522 of the Administrative Justice Code in relation to urgent applications. It noted that the Jules Ferry centre became operational in April 2015, to provide secure accommodation for 120 women and children. The population of people camped near the site had increased significantly in recent months to around 6,000 people with an increase also in women and children. The reports of NGOs and the media revealed an emergency situation and despite the illegality of the camp, the public authorities were obliged to guarantee the basic rights and fundamental freedoms of those living there.

With regard to access to health care and emergency accommodation, the judge found that measures had been taken by the authorities to address shortcomings, and further improvements were planned. As such, there was no need for it to order urgent measures. Similarly, she considered that it had not been established that the applicants were unable to access information on claiming asylum or were prevented from claiming asylum in France so there was no failure on account of this. 

On the other hand, due to insufficient access to water and toilets, and lack of rubbish collection, the camp population were exposed to an inadequate consideration of their basic needs for hygiene and drinking water exposing them to a risk of inhuman and degrading treatment. The judge therefore ordered the prefect of Pas-de-Calais and the commune of Calais to install 10 additional water points, 50 latrines, set up a collection system for rubbish, install mobile rubbish containers, carry out a clean of the site and make one or more routes for emergency access. These measures should be implemented immediately, within the next 8 days, with a 100 euro per day penalty in the event of failure to do so. The prefect of Pas-de-Calais were also ordered to identify unaccompanied minors in distress within 48 hours of the judgment, so that they could be adequately placed. 

full case summary in English is available on EDAL.

Based on an unofficial ELENA translation. The ELENA Weekly Legal Update would like to thank Gilles Piquois, ELENA national coordinator for France, and Flor Tercero, for notifying us of this judgment.

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Accommodation centre
Effective access to procedures
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Material reception conditions
Reception conditions
Unaccompanied minor
Vulnerable person