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In a joint statement, Amnesty International, La Cimade, and Revivre revealed that France has attempted “scandalous and illegal” expulsions of asylum seekers to Syria.

According to the NGOs, in October 2022 two police prefectures, the Haute-Garonne and the Paris prefectures, took “demarches with the Syrian embassy” in France to send back asylum seekers despite the fact that diplomatic relations between Paris and Damascus have been officially severed.

These attempts challenge a status quo that has existed for several years: no expulsions to this country divided by a long civil war, say the NGOs, which demand a “clarification” from the French government on practices contrary to international law.

Manon Fillonneau, head of migration issues at Amnesty International, told AFP“we had never seen that in recent years. It is shocking that in a frantic quest to execute OQTFs (obligations to leave France), the authorities are breaking the commitments of France, which ensures that it no longer has diplomatic relations with Syria. We would never imagine expelling someone to Ukraine” today.