France: asylum at risk
05 March 2018

Asylum seekers play football as part of the Welcome Youth programme of JRS France (Photo: Vincent Gerbert / JRS France).
Paris, 5 March 2018 - Less than two and a half years after the entry into force of the 2015 Asylum Reform Act, a new bill on asylum and immigration is being developed in France without any evaluation of the previous reforms. JRS France is extremely concerned about these developments and is working with other NGOs in the country to defend the rights of forced migrants.

The Coordination Française du droit d’asile (CFDA), a network in which JRS France collaborates with other organizations, published the report “D’une réforme à l’autre, l’asile en danger” (One Reform After Another, Asylum at Risk), which highlights how this bill only exacerbates the precarious situation of asylum seekers in the country.

The situation of asylum seekers has clearly deteriorated at all stages of the process. There has never been a higher number of asylum applications in France, but the so-called "migration crisis" is not the cause of the malfunctions of the asylum procedure. These dysfunctions are due to confused administrative practices as well as to emergency management, which has contributed to making the procedure and reception system opaque and incomprehensible.

On 21 February 2018, the government presented to the Council of Ministers a "bill for controlled immigration and an effective right of asylum". This new reform does not include elements about the improvement of registration deadlines and access to rights. It multiplies the pitfalls to dissuade applications and resort to expeditious procedures, and focuses mainly on speeding up processing times for asylum applications to OFPRA and the CNDA, already greatly reduced since the reform of 2015 (average 4 months at OFPRA and 5 and a half months at the CNDA). The reduction of deadlines is detrimental to applicants because of the short time the Agency will spend revising each file.

In its report, the CFDA draws attention to the situation of asylum seekers placed in the "Dublin" procedure. It is time to consider the damage caused by this unfair procedure (between EU Member States) for asylum seekers. The CFDA asks for an analysis of the situation of rejected asylum seekers and of asylum seekers on “priority” procedures, before the adoption of any new law.

The CFDA requests an in-depth review by the government to improve sustainably the conditions of reception and examination of asylum applications in France.

Original French article by JRS France here

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Oscar Spooner
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