The French authorities illegally extend controls at Schengen's interior borders, associations file a claim before the State Council
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Press release - 31 October 2017
On 26 October 2017, Anafé, La Cimade and Gisti asked the judge for emergency interim procedures [juge des référés] of the State Council [Conseil d'Etat] to urgently suspend the authorities' decision to extend the controls at the internal borders until 30 April 2018.
The reintroduction of controls at the internal borders of the Schengen area, enacted by France since 13 November 2015, and then repeatedly extended due to the state of emergency, was meant to end on 31 October. However, the French authorities informed the European Union (EU) in a note send on the past 3 October that they were counting on extending these systematic border checks -once again- by invoking as its only reason the "risk of a terrorist attack, which remains high in French territory".
While the state of emergency is meant to end on Wednesday 1 November, this decision, which contradicts the rules of the Schengen area which limit the possibility of conducting systematic checks at its internal borders to two years, seriously undermines the rights of people in a regime of freedom of movement.
Since 2015, tens of thousands of people were refused entry into the French territory (63,732 in 2016). An important part of these are people who are seeking protection, as is confirmed by observers and associations which are present at the French-Italian border.
While the reason which has been given for implementing this arsenal of border controls is the fight against terrorism, it is very obvious that its main goal is to drastically limit the freedom of movement of migrants within the EU and particularly that of those who come from Italy, Greece and Spain. This is blatant in the Briançon region, in the valley of the Roya or even in Menton, where hundreds of soldiers, police and gendarmes are deployed in the hills and in the rail stations and send migrants back towards Italy on a daily basis, without respecting legal procedures.
This is also evident in aeroports, where entry into France is refused to tourists and people whose situation is regular, who come from other states in the Schengen area. These people are then detained in waiting areas [zones d'attente] before being sent back.
Moreover, discriminatory controls based on appearance and ethnic profiling are systematically enacted throughout the territory on people who are perceived by the law enforcement agencies as being migrants.
Hence, our organisations urgently demand that the French authorities put an end to systematic checks at the internal borders in order to return to a Schengen area in which freedom of movement becomes the norm again, rather than being an exception."
The original press release "Les autorités françaises prolongent illégalement les contrôles aux frontières intérieures Schengen, les associations saisissent le Conseil d'État" (French):
La Cimade - Rafael Flichman : +33 (0)1 44 18 72 62 / +33(0)6 42 15 77 14 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Anafé - Louis Imbert : +33 (0)6 04 03 12 62
GISTI - Jean-Philippe Foegle : + 33 (0)6 79 30 64 96
Universitaire (M2 Droits de l'Homme) - Serge Slama : +33 (0)6 76 29 97 02
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