Wednesday, October 8, 2008

News from Europe: French Court Decides that Family Detention Violates EU Human Rights

A Court of Appeals in Rennes, France, ruled October 1 that detaining families with small children violates Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights. As you'll see below, the court ruled that the removal of small children from 'the normal course of life' to the isolation of a detention center--even where it is prepared for families--is inhumane treatment. The court also ruled that the suffering caused by detention is disproportionate to the offense. Also note that the maximum detention period is 32 days. If only in the U.S....

(Dr. Maria F. Perez Solla translated this decision for the Detention Watch Network listserv.)

Jurisprudence (Rennes) : Annulation d’une prolongation de rétention pour une famille avec un enfant

Cour d’appel de Rennes (271/2008) du 29 septembre 2008, qui annule la prolongation de rétention sur l’article 3 de la Convention Européenne des Droits de l’Homme :

« Considering that the means employed constitute a violation of Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, that, asserts that nobody can be subjected to inhuman or degrading treatment. As to fall within this provision, bad treatment should reach a minimum of seriousness, considering the whole circumstances of the case, in particular, the nature and the context of the treatment, the duration, the physical and mental effects, as well as the sex, age, and health condition of the victim ;

Considering that the State indicated that the placement of the spouses S. and their children at the detention center Saint-Jacques de la Lande, counting with facilities especially prepared for receiving families, does not constitute inhuman treatment and that due to his age, the child, who has never been separated from his mother, does not suffer psychological trauma in the measure that he can not realize his situation ;

Even in the case that there is a space especially reserved to receive families, the detention center remains a closed place where foreigners are retained, considering their isolation from French territory, for a duration of maximum 32 days; that, in this particular case, the fact of keeping, in such a place, a young family mother, her husband, and their one year old baby, constitutes inhuman treatment in the sense of Article 3 of the European Convention of Human Rights, because :

- - First, the child is suddenly subtracted, since his small age, from a normal and appropriate course of life: his parents' house - and is imposed, even temporarily, life conditions completely irregular for a one year old baby ;

- - Secondly, the big suffering, moral and psychical, caused to the mother and the father, suffering that, due to its nature, importance and duration
(the renewal of detention requested by the authority of 15 days), reaches the level of seriousness required as to apply the above-mentioned text.

Considering, moreover, that the suffering caused is manifestly disproportional to the goal persecuted, that is, to conduct the deportation of the family S., moreover, when those interested count with housing in Vitré...".
October 1st 2008