14 March 2014

In the lead up to the French Council of Ministers considering reform of the asylum system in April 2014, French NGO Forum réfugiés-Cosi has published 13 recommendations designed to make the asylum system fairer and more protection-oriented for applicants seeking international protection in France.

The move for reform arises in the context of France’s need to implement the recast EU asylum legislation. According to Forum réfugiés-Cosi, reform is also necessary in view of the strains on France’s reception capacity, and it is recommended that 10,000 new places be created and distributed more effectively across the country.

Forum réfugiés-Cosi urges that all asylum seekers be issued with a temporary residence permit in order to ensure respect for their rights and access to housing and universal healthcare coverage while their application is being examined.

Forum réfugiés-Cosi recommend that applicants subject to the Dublin procedure be entitled to full reception conditions, including universal healthcare coverage. The French authorities are also encouraged to apply the Dublin III Regulation’s discretionary clause in order to examine the claims of applicants in cases where the responsible Member State’s asylum system has systemic deficiencies.

Consideration of an asylum application at first instance and on appeal must take no longer than 6 months at each stage, without compromising the quality of the decisions. Forum réfugiés-Cosi also urges that the concept of ‘safe countries of origin’ must be kept under strict review.

Asylum applicants whose claims have been rejected as well as applicants challenging their removal under the Dublin procedure must be allowed to remain in the country while their appeal is examined. The means of identification and management of vulnerable applicants must be improved, and all unaccompanied children seeking asylum should be afforded quality legal representation.

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This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 14 March 2014
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