France was once again reprimanded by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) last week for detaining foreign minors, including infants as young as 7 and 8 months old. This marks the eleventh time France has been convicted of such practices since 2012. In the first case, a Guinean mother and her seven-and-a-half-month-old son were detained for nine days by the Bas-Rhin prefecture, with the intention of transferring them to Spain in accordance with the Dublin Regulation, which requires asylum applications to be lodged in the first country of arrival in Europe. The ruling was made in January 2021.
In its ruling, the ECHR declared that the conditions in the Metz-Queuleu detention center, where the children were detained despite their very young age, along with the extended duration of their confinement, amounted to inhuman and degrading treatment that surpassed the threshold of severity outlined in Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. The Court emphasized that this article prohibits all forms of inhuman and degrading treatment. As a result, the Court ordered that a total of 19,000 euros be awarded to the plaintiffs.
On Twitter, the Human Rights Defender expressed its regret at this new conviction, underlining the persistence of the practice of placing children in administrative detention centres, which goes against fundamental rights and the best interests of the child.