6 June 2014

The updated AIDA Report, compiled by ECRE member organization Forum réfugiés-Cosi, shows that the number of available places in reception centres for asylum seekers in France is largely insufficient. As a consequence, many of these asylum seekers have no other solution than relying on emergency shelters for asylum seekers, night shelters for homeless people or living on the street. On 31 December 2013, 15,000 asylum seekers were on a priority waiting list to obtain a place in a reception centre, the average waiting period amounting to 12 months. Only 32% of the asylum seekers entitled to accommodation in a reception centre for asylum seekers was effectively hosted in such a centre in mid-2013, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The report highlights the efforts of the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless people (OFPRA) towards a better consideration of the needs of particularly vulnerable asylum seekers. Five thematic groups have been established in order to enhance OFPRA’s capacity to deal with protection needs of torture victims, victims of trafficking in human beings, unaccompanied children, and related to sexual orientation and gender-based violence. These groups are working on awareness raising, training, and in designing specific support tools to examine these claims. In addition, staff are being trained on dealing with persons recounting painful events during the interview process. OFPRA has announced that it will train all of its 170 case workers by the end of 2015.

Finally, a Council of State decision of 30 December 2013 has confirmed that asylum seekers under the Dublin procedure, should receive a subsistence allowance until they are sent to another Member State. Prior to that ruling, asylum seekers not complying with the Dublin decision could see their allowance suspended. 

This report is part of the Asylum Information Database (AIDA), a project of the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), in partnership with Forum Refugiés-Cosi, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Irish Refugee Council. AIDA focuses on asylum procedures, reception conditions and detention of asylum seekers in EU Member States.

This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 6 June 2014.
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