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Europe rights commissioner concerned by France immigration policies

[JURIST] Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Thomas Hammarberg [official profile] released a report [text] Thursday saying that "French detention and immigration policies risk reducing human rights protection." laying out the findings of his visit to France in May, Hammarberg expressed specific concern with overcrowding and poor conditions in detention facilities already noted in a February memo [text, PDF, in French], a high suicide rate [JURIST report], and the risk of arbitrary decisions in preventative detention. On overall immigration policy, Hammarberg said [press release] that a French quota on irregular migrant worker expulsion was improper and that a permanent solution needs to be reached regarding the situation of minority Roma [JURIST news archive]. In particular:

The Commissioner wishes to alert the French authorities to the dangers of predetermining the number of illegal migrants to be removed: the impact of such targets on the ways in which arrests are made and on administrative practices should be assessed. No further arrests should be made in schools or prefectures. The authorities are invited to allow those detained at the border or in holding centres enough time to complete asylum applications, in appropriate conditions.
In September, Hammarberg expressed similar concerns about UK asylum policies [JURIST report]. Regarding the Roma, Hammarberg issued two memoranda in 2008. One was directed at Italian policy while another focused on the adoption of a cohesive European policy [JURIST reports]. France adopted a more stringent immigration law in September 2007, implementing policies urged [JURIST report] by President Nicholas Sarkozy during his election campaign.

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