France: Council of State upholds obligation to provide basic sanitation facilities and organise voluntary departures to reception centres

Friday, July 28, 2017

On 28 July 2017, the French Council of State upheld the decision of the Administrative Court of Lille which found that the State had to provide basic sanitation facilities and organise voluntary departures to reception centres across France. The Administrative Tribunal in Lille was petitioned by several NGOs in an emergency procedure to temporarily put a stop to a State practice in the event that it was illegal and in violation of human rights. This was subsequently granted, but both the French Ministry of the Interior and the Commune of Calais appealed against this decision.
The Council of State rejected the appeals. First, it found that the conditions in which several hundred asylum-seekers were living in Calais amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment; it was the result of deficient policies by the authorities and constituted a serious and manifestly illegal breach of fundamental rights. The Court stated that because asylum-seekers had no access to running water, showers or lavatories, they were subjected to pathologies resulting from lack of proper hygiene and that it engendered further psychological suffering. The authorities should thus provide access to clean water, showers and lavatories.
Second, the Council of State further found that the Administrative Tribunal in Lille was correct in its injunction to the State to organise voluntary departures from Calais to reception centres across France, where asylum-seekers can receive support for their applications, in an effort to prevent individuals from settling in the Calais region again.
The EWLU would like to thank Jessica Pradille, Administrative Assistant – UNHCR Strategic Partnership at ECRE, for her assistance with summarising this decision.

This item was reproduced with the permission of ECRE from the weekly ELENA legal update supported by the Fundamental Rights and Citizenship Funding Programme and distributed by email. The purpose of these updates is to inform asylum lawyers and legal organizations supporting asylum seekers and refugees of recent developments in the field of asylum law. Please note that the information provided is taken from publicly available information on the internet. Every reasonable effort is made to make the content accurate and up to date at the time each item is published but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by ECRE, the IRC or its partners.



Accommodation centre
Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
Material reception conditions