N.H. and Others v France
ECtHR finds inhuman and degrading living conditions of asylum-seekers left without means of subsistence
According to the ECtHR's press release:
The Court held, unanimously, that there had been: a violation of Article 3 (prohibition of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of the applicants N.H. (no. 28820/13), K.T. (no. 75547/13) and A.J. (no. 13114/15), and no violation of Article 3, in respect of the applicant S.G. (no. 75547/13).
The applications concerned five asylum-seekers, single men, living in France. They complained that they had been unable to receive the material and financial support to which they were entitled under French law and had thus been forced to sleep rough in inhuman and degrading conditions for several months.
The Court observed that the applicant N.H. had been living in the street without any resources; this was also the case for K.T. and A.J. who had only received the Temporary Allowance after 185 and 133 days respectively. In addition, before being able to register as asylum-seekers, N.H., K.T. and A.J. had been forced to survive for a certain period without any evidence of that status.
The French authorities had failed in their duties under domestic law. They were found responsible for the conditions in which the applicants had been living for several months: sleeping rough, without access to sanitary facilities, having no means of subsistence and constantly in fear of being attacked or robbed. The applicants had thus been victims of degrading treatment, showing a lack of respect for their dignity.
The Court found that such living conditions, combined with the lack of an appropriate response from the French authorities and the fact that the domestic courts had systematically objected that the competent bodies lacked resources in the light of their status as single young men, had exceeded the threshold of severity for the purposes of Article 3 of the Convention. The three applicants N.H., K.T. and A.J. had thus found themselves, through the fault of the French authorities, in a situation that was incompatible with Article 3 of the Convention.
Afghanistan; Reception/Accommodation; Vulnerable Group;
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECHR], N.H. and Others v France, Applications nos. 28820/13, 75547/13 and 13114/15, 02 July 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.