Five organisations authorised to enter immigration detention centres in France (Assfam, Forum Réfugiés, France Terre d’Asile, La Cimade and Ordre de Malte) have published their annual report on immigration detention, “Centres et Locaux de Rétention Administrative” in France in 2013.

According to this research, during 2013, more than 45.000 people were detained for migration-related reasons in France (this is reportedly the largest number of persons detained by any EU country). More than half (54%) of the individuals were reportedly deported without judicial monitoring of the compliance and respect of their rights by the police and the administration. In the overseas territories, the great majority of detained migrants reportedly don’t have access to a judge and conditions of detention are deplorable.

After the condemnation of France by the European Court of Human Rights in 2012, an administrative circular of 6 July 2012 implemented the decision of placing families in a residence facilities rather than being kept in immigration detention centres. Since then, child immigration detention has decreased in France. However, unaccompanied migrant children and families still end up in detention centres, not only in the overseas territory but also in the mainland France.

In 2013, there was reportedly an increase of 36% in the number of children in immigration detention, mainly in Mayotte where 3,512 minors were detained, including unaccompanied children and those with their families (compared to 2,674 children in 2012). This increase is due to a policy that does not protect foreign children in Mayotte where the circular of July 2012 is not applicable. Conversely, the number of children detained in mainland France with their families decreased from 99 in 2012  to 41 in 2013. 122 young people claiming to be children were also reportedly detained in the metropolis.

The report also expressed concern that people with familiar links in France, seriously ill people, and asylum seekers are still detained for up to 45 days in France. The immigration detention capacity in immigration detention centres (known as CRAs) has reportedly doubled in the last 10 years  mainland France.

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Post contributed by Oriol Vallès Freixas, 1 December 2014.