COUNTRY UPDATE 2007 FOR FRENCH RED CROSS. 1. Figures and facts about asylum

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1 COUNTRY UPDATE 2007 FOR FRENCH RED CROSS 1. Figures and facts about asylum Main countries of origin of asylum seekers year 2007 Place Country Number of asylum applicants 1 Serbia Turkey Russia Sri Lanka Democratic Republic of Congo 6 Armenia China Bangladesh Algeria Congo 827 Source: French Office for Refugees and stateless persons (OFPRA) Evolution of the number of asylum applications Difference +/- First applications ,4% Rejections* % Removals Recognitions ,4% Proportion of recognitions of 19,5% 29,9% all the decisions (%) Voluntary returns Number of Dublin cases sent ,4% back Number of Dublin cases received % Source: French Office for Refugees and stateless persons (OFPRA) Add remarks if needed * at the first level of the examination of the asylum application Despite a slight decrease, in 2007 France was the second main European country of destination for asylum seekers after Sweden. The following remarks can be made regarding the year 2007: - the high proportion of recognitions needs to be highlighted; - asylum seekers are more disseminated through the French territory than in previous years; - requests from women asylum seekers have increased; - the number of accompanying minors has increased up to 24,6%;

2 - 706 persons among the have been granted with a subsidiary protection status

3 2. Political and legal developments concerning migration issues List all the remarkable political and legal changes occurred in your country. List also issues with political/ public concern. Add rows if needed. Political changes (policy programmes, guidelines, etc.) Legal changes (laws, regulations, etc.) Issue Short description Remarks (RC responses, problems related to these issues, etc.) Immigration bill dated 20 November 2007 Some highlights about this law: According to this law, DNA testing can be used to verify the family links for foreign candidates asking for visa for more than 3 months on family regrouping grounds. Foreigners who wish to live with their families must take French courses abroad for at least two months if they don t have enough basic knowledge of the French language and French society. The OFPRA, the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons is no longer under the supervision of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but rather under the supervision of the Ministry of Immigration. Better protection for the foreign victims of domestic violence has been set up with an opportunity to stay in France if the marriage that granted them a residence permit is over. The maximum period of detention in waiting zones has been extended from 20 days to 30 days in certain circumstances. The Refugee Appeals Board s denomination has been changed to become the National Court of Asylum Rights. This change takes place in a general evolution of this administrative court of appeal, which will be under the responsibility of the French Ministry of justice in FRC has transmitted its worries to the French Government about a number of provisions included in this law. It has stressed the importance of principles such as the right to family reunification and the necessity for the OFPRA to remain independent. FRC has also underlined the danger of using genetics to prove family ties in the context of immigration law.

4 Asylum seekers /migrants related issues raised by media, authorities, NGOs, etc. Decree of 31 May 2007 Decree of 23 march 2007 Chechnya asylum seekers This text creates the Ministry of Immigration, Integration, National Identity and Joint Development, and defines its new competence framework. This new Ministry incorporates competencies concerning migrants, asylum seekers and refugees which, until now, were spread through different ministries, such as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Internal Affairs or the Ministry of Employment. This text specifies the requirements for admission and residence of asylum seekers in accommodation centres. Asylum seekers are free to decide whether to accept a place in such a centre or not. In the case that they refuse a proposal for accommodation, asylums seekers can t benefit from financial help. As soon as an asylum seeker receives a final decision on his/her application, he/she is obliged to leave his/her accommodation. In particular, rejected asylum seekers must leave within one month. From summer 2007 to December 2007 a large number of arrivals of Chechen nationals were registered at the border and on French territory. This was due to the exceptional decision of the French authorities to not implement the Dublin Regulation towards Chechen asylum seekers coming from Poland. Indeed, this decision was motivated by a fear of Chechen asylum seekers being expelled from Poland back to Russia through Ukraine. This decision has been reformed, as France has not been able to cope with the increase in Chechen arrivals.

5 3. Red Cross activities in the field of migration List all different kinds of activities in order to make it easier to share ideas and good practices among the National Societies. Target Group Type of Activity Short Description of Activity Provider of activity within RC (National Headquarter, regional / local Branch, etc.) Asylum Seekers Provision of Postal address Legal and administrative counselling and Humanitarian and social Accommodation Psychological counselling Necessary address for those with no other means to receive their administrative mail in relation with their asylum request. Assistance at different steps of the procedures on the French territory and at the borders: orientation, information on the asylum determination procedure, counselling on the asylum claim, at the appeal level, and information on the French welfare system French language lessons, clothing, exceptional financial aid, and leisure activities. Housing, care and leisure activities in specific accommodation centres (6) with 384 places in total, and many different shelters. Refugees Accommodation Housing, care and integration activities in the FRC centre for refugees (35 places) or in other accommodation centres. A sliding lease flats service has been implemented since In 2007, 19 families have benefited from this plan of action, which has been suspended at the end of 2007 due to financial reasons. Some local branches Refugees and the Headquarters. Some local branches and medical structures of the FRC Quétigny Quétigny - Dijon

6 Labour Migrants Victims of Trafficking in Human Beings (VOTs) Undocumented Migrants Unaccompanied minors (UMs) Provision of legal advice and Humanitarian Legal Prevention and counselling Legal Medical and psychological Humanitarian support Accommodation This includes counselling on issues such as family reunification, access to French nationality etc. This comprises on issues such as family reunification, access to French nationality, access to residence permits, and work legislation. Reducing the risk of trafficking. It includes information and on conditions of regularisation, access to free medical healthcare and other rights, and voluntary return. Since autumn 2007, and at the request of the French authorities, FRC is taking part in voluntary return programmes concerning Romanies from Romania and Bulgaria. In 2007, FRC accompanied 1322 Romanies to their country of origin. In this context, FRC undertakes and monitoring functions. For those who do not have access to free medical aid (if not fulfilling condition of duration of stay for example) or who are not authorized to enter French territory. This comprises clothing, food supply, and leisure activities. In one specific accommodation centre for foreign UMs and in other centres of the FRC for young people. and the refugees and the headquarters Refugees and the Headquarters Refugees and the Headquarters, accommodation centres for UMs

7 Tracing Legal guardianship Information and prevention Tracing family members internationally where the family has been separated and has lost contact due to war or disaster (same as for all foreigners). Representation of UMs at the borders. Provision of written material on the procedures and dangers of trafficking. Headquarters Headquarters Headquarters and local branches and accommodation centres Headquarters, local branches Name and coordinates of the contact person for migration matters within your National Society: Louis Dransart Telephone number: Fax number: Maryam Rafii Telephone number: Fax number: Croix-Rouge Française 98, rue Didot Paris Cedex 14

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