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Flout Child Protection, Immigration Rules

(Paris) – French police summarily expel dozens of unaccompanied children to Italy each month in violation of French and international law, Human Rights Watch said today. To enable the returns, the police frequently record on official documents…
A member of the French border police checks identity documents in March 2021 at the Menton-Garavan station, the first French train station for those travelling between Genoa, in Italy, and Nice, in France.
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Health Risks and International Law Require Safer Alternatives

(Brussels) – People in immigration detention in European countries pending deportation should be given alternatives to detention amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said today. “While entire societies learn to live under…
Women in the Ponte Galeria immigration detention center near Rome, Italy May 6, 2017.
News

Libya Could Have Used Ships to Commit Abuses Against Migrants and Asylum Seekers

France’s decision last week to withdraw its offer of six boats to the Libyan Coast Guard is good news, as Libya could have used this “gift” to subject even more migrants and refugees to serious abuses in Libya. In February,…
Migrants on a boat that they tried to take to Italy, after being detained at a Libyan Navy base in Tripoli on September 20, 2015.
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Rise in Xenophobic Violence as Elections Near

(Johannesburg) – Authorities in South Africa should urgently investigate, and arrest and prosecute those responsible for a spate of violence against foreign nationals in Durban from March 25 to April 2, 2019, the South Africa-…
Hundreds of foreign nationals displaced by xenophobic attacks in Durban on March 27, 2019  take refuge near the Sydenham Police Station. © 2019 RAJESH JANTILAL/AFP/Getty Images.
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Controversial tests to determine age of unaccompanied migrant children should go

France’s highest court recently ruled that controversial bone tests to assess the age of unaccompanied migrant children are flawed, but nevertheless comply with France’s Constitution. The Constitutional Council acknowledged that such…
Unaccompanied teens queue outside the Paris evaluation facility (Dispositif d’evaluation des mineurs isolés étrangers, DEMIE) to seek formal recognition as unaccompanied migrant children, October 3, 2018.
News

French Assistance Could Lead to Gross Rights Violations

People shackled, beaten, burned, crushed, hung upside down, threatened, and detained in horrendous conditions: the images broadcast recently by Channel 4 News apparently showing the torture and inhumane conditions suffered by some…
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News
Following his meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he wanted “to make the Mediterranean a chance and not a fear.” But does he mean Europeans’ fears of foreigners,…
Migrants are seen onboard the charity ship Lifeline at Boiler Wharf in Senglea, in Valletta's Grand Harbour, Malta June 27, 2018.
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New provisions risk undermining asylum seekers’ rights while not solving ongoing issues

In France, asylum seekers are sleeping rough, and flawed procedures often leave unaccompanied migrant children adrift, homeless, and excluded from the care they need. But instead of addressing these challenges or correcting…
Tents are seen at a makeshift migrant camp on a street near the metro stations of Jaures and Stalingrad in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
News

‘Fraternity’ Ruling Offers Wider Lessons for Europe

France’s highest court has just ruled that helping others in need, including undocumented migrants, is protected by the country’s constitution. The decision comes at a time when people and groups trying to help undocumented migrants – in…
Migrants rest after having crossed part of the Alps mountain range from Italy into France, near the town of Nevache in southeastern France, December 21, 2017.
News

Amend Draft to Safeguard Access to Protection

(Paris) – A bill before the French Parliament on immigration and asylum could jeopardize access to protection and should be revised, Human Rights Watch said today. The National Assembly will examine the bill in the week of April 16, 2018, and the Senate…
Tents are seen at a makeshift migrant camp on a street near the metro stations of Jaures and Stalingrad in Paris, France, October 28, 2016
News

29th session

Summary Discrimination on grounds of origin or religion remains a significant problem in France. Abusive police identity checks disproportionally affect minorities, which France has failed to address despite a commitment to do so at its last…
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Authorities Should End Abuse of Migrants, Open Shelters for Winter

Shortly after he became president of France last year, Emmanuel Macron had a hopeful vision for humanely addressing the country’s asylum crisis. “By the end of the year, I do not want to have men and women on the streets, in the woods. I want…
A migrant walks past the slogans which read "refugees welcome" written on a wall near the former "jungle" in Calais, France, August 23, 2017.
News

Police Abuse, Freezing Conditions Threaten Their Safety

(Paris) – Migrants and asylum seekers in Calais are facing desperate living conditions, especially as temperatures drop, Human Rights Watch said today. Many child and adult migrants described an increase in the police destruction and…
Asylum seekers and other migrants sleep outside in the snow, Calais, France, December 11, 2017.
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It was mid-morning in late June, but the warehouse in Calais was dark, cold, and drafty. I sat on the ground with “Marie,” a tall, slim French woman in her early twenties. Bent forward with a look of concentration, she described how the…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News
The long-awaited moment has finally come. Ten years after the project was initiated, President Emmanuel Macron will inaugurate the Louvre Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island, the so-called “Island of Happiness” in the United Arab Emirates on November 8, 2017.…
Drawn by the promise of jobs, thousands of men from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal work on Saadiyat Island in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), a development project which will host branches of the Louvre and Guggenheim museums and a New
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Enact Recommendations, Improve Dire Conditions

(Paris) – A report released on October 23, 2017, by the French administration and security forces’ internal investigations departments has found convincing evidence that police used excessive force and committed other abuses against…
Migrants in Calais gather in the rain for a clothing distribution in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Calais, France. © Futuro Berg/Help Refugees, October 2017
News
In Calais at the end of June, I spoke to a 17-year-old Ethiopian boy (I’ll call him Biniam T.). He said French riot police (the Compagnies républicaines de sécurité, CRS) had sprayed him with a chemical substance as he was walking with…
After police halted an evening distribution of food and clothing, three officers stop and question a boy who had paused to change his shoes before returning to the wooded area where he and other migrants spend the night, May 2017. © 2017 Help Refugees
News

Government Ignores Widespread Reports of Ill-Treatment

(Paris) – French police in Calais routinely abuse asylum seekers and other migrants, Human Rights Watch said today. The French authorities turn a blind eye to the widespread reports of the abuse. The 40-page report, “‘Like Living…
French police detain two migrants, one a 14-year-old boy, before dispersing a late-night food distribution in Calais on June 29, 2017.
News
Just as temperatures are dropping below freezing in France, police violence against migrants in Paris has intensified. Migrants are being forced to give up their blankets and quilts, Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the local association P’tis déj à…
French riot police officer stands guard next to tents of a dismantled makeshift camp in a street near Stalingrad metro station, Paris, France, November 4, 2016.
News
Before it was demolished at the end of October, the sprawling migrant camp in Calais had become a symbol of Europe’s shame, a visible reminder of the European Union’s failure to find a humane, fair, and coordinated approach to migration. But…
Former camp residents wave as they depart in buses for migrant centers elsewhere in France. 24 October 2016.