Applicant (Central African Republic)
Central African Republic
FR: Council of State rules on asylum border procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic and held that pandemic restrictions cannot justify a refusal to register asylum applications
The case concerns border procedures and push-backs at the French border with Italy. On 14 May 2020, the applicant, a national of the Central African Republic, together with her five year old son, was found by the border police in a train at the Menton train station, coming from Vintimille (Italy). A decision to refuse entry was taken and the applicant was sent back to Italy on the same day. The applicant requested the judge of summary proceedings ('juge des référés') at the Nice Administrative Court, to order immediate measures against the decision of the border police of Menton to refuse her entry to the French territory, to order the authorities to allow her entry and, secondarily, to contact the Italian authorities so that she would be allowed to go to the border and submit an asylum application. By ordinance no. 2001952 of 19 May 2020, the judge rejected her request.
The Council of State held that since the applicant made an application for asylum at the border (in the train), the border police was under the obligation, under Article L. 213-2 CESEDA, to register the request and present it to the Ministry of the Interior, without being able to refuse entry to the French territory for lack of identity document. In addition, the national legal provisions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health reasons could not be used as a justification for refusing to register asylum applications, given that the registration of asylum applications continued in particularly urgent cases.
The Council of State concluded that by refusing the entry to the territory the authorities had manifestly infringed the right to asylum.
At the same time, the Council held that the applicant can lodge an application for asylum in Italy and that there are no urgent circumstances that would currently justify an order to the border authorities to allow her to enter the French territory.
Access to procedures; Asylum Procedures/Special Procedures; Border procedures; COVID-19/Emergency measures;
France, Council of State [Conseil d'État], Applicant (Central African Republic), No. 440756, ECLI:FR:CECHS:2020:440756.20200708, 08 July 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EASO Case Law Database.