To access the updated report, you can navigate through the table of content on the right end side or download the full report (in PDF) below.
This report was written by Claire Salignat, Project Officer at Forum réfugiés-Cosi and edited by ECRE.
The findings presented in this report stem from background desk research, interviews with field practitioners and lawyers, as well as feedbacks from French NGOs and the Paris based UNHCR office and finally statistics shared by the French authorities. These results have been gathered and compiled between February and April 2013. An update of the report has been carried out between October and November 2013.
Forum réfugiés-Cosi wishes to thank all those individuals and organisations who gave up their time and shared their expertise to contribute or check information gathered during the research. Particular thanks are owed to many Forum réfugiés-Cosi colleagues who have shared their practical experience of the right of asylum in France – which have been key to feed this report with concrete reality-checks observations; to the two lawyers who have taken the time to share their views on the French system; to the staff of France terre d’asile, the Anafé and the UNHCR Paris office for their expert and constructive feedbacks provided despite a very short notice and finally to ECRE for its support throughout the drafting process.
Forum réfugiés- Cosi would also like to thank the European Refugee Fund for co-financing its awareness-raising missions which allowed us to provide additional time to research and draft this report.
In France, asylum policies – including reception procedures – are largely under prefectural execution. This review of practices is mostly based on observations in the départments of Rhône, Allier and Alpes-Maritimes. However, the conclusions presented in this report on the concrete implementation of asylum policies have been cross-checked and triangulated with observations of these practices in other regions (in Paris for instance) and are supported by findings presented in other reports – be they official or drafted by civil society organisations.
In addition, despite a particularly worrisome situation in Mayotte, these issues could unfortunately not be treated in this report. We are aiming at making up for this deficiency in one of the next updates.
With a view to prepare for a reform of the French asylum procedure in spring 2014, the French Ministry of Interior had initiated in July 2013 a large scale consultation of the main stakeholders, led by two MPs, Valérie Létard and Jean-Louis Touraine. After four rounds of workshops, the two MPs have submitted their recommendations to the Minister on 28 November 2013.
These scenarios for the reform will be used in the discussions in early 2014 to shape the new asylum system in France.
Acknowledging that consensus had not been reached on all issues, the report includes a number of recommendations on the procedures and the reception conditions.
- Simplifying the administrative procedures by removing the “domiciliation” prerequisite (requirement of an address) with a view to accelerate the entry in the procedure (the address would be required only at a later stage)
- Granting a temporary residence permit (APS) for normal as well as for accelerated procedures (but with exceptions such as the Dublin procedure)
- Allowing the presence of a third person at the OFPRA interview (designation and modalities for their interventions would have to be supervised)
- Opting for the recording of the OFPRA interviews rather than the transcription with the possibility of making comments
- Considering the prioritisation of the examination of claims from asylum seekers in need of special procedural guarantees (including unaccompanied minors)
- Considering the extension of the use of the accelerated procedure in case “the applicant has only raised issues that are not relevant” or in case the “applicant has made clearly inconsistent and contradictory, clearly false or obviously improbable representations”.
- Reviewing the list of countries considered as safe countries of origin and foreseeing a mechanism for an urgent suspension or crossing off some countries when sudden changes justify so
- Looking into the possibility of granting a suspensive effect to appeals against transfer under the Dublin procedure
- Exploring the establishment of implicit withdrawal and of inadmissibility procedures
- Imposing an obligation of simultaneity of the appeal registration and the legal laid request. This would entail removing the possibility to request free legal aid during the one month period granted to make the appeal.
- Considering the transfer of the asylum competence to regular administrative courts (i.e. removing the authority of the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) for some cases)
- Considering granting a suspensive effect to the appeals made under the accelerated procedure (under some strict conditions)
- Establishing a new national orientation mechanism to provide asylum seekers with housing solutions thanks to transit centres used for short period of times (maximum 15 days) prior to a mandatory distribution of persons on the territory (quotas per region are proposed).
- Changing the calculation of the temporary waiting allowance to better take into account the household composition
In addition, the report considers the creation of centres dedicated to rejected asylum seekers where they would be put on house arrest.
The information in the updated report is up-to-date as of 2 January 2014 (an initial update of the report was published on 20 December 2013 but due to some important changes that occurred at the end of 2013 some changes have been introduced. The current pdf available was published on 2 January 2014).