nugara Council of Europe Anti-Torture Committee: Report on Roissy-Charles de Gaulle visit

The French Government has agreed to the publication of the report by the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT) on the visit which it carried out at Roissy-Charles de Gaulle airport from 17 to 21 June 2002. The aim of the visit was to examine the situation of foreign nationals held at the airport. The report is published together with the response of the French authorities.

No credible allegations were heard of ill-treatment of detained persons by staff employed in Immigration Waiting Zones (ZAPI) Nos. 2 and 3. However, there were a certain number of allegations of ill-treatment of foreign nationals (slaps, kicks, baton blows, tight handcuffing, threats and insults) by police officers during passport controls, requests for asylum and attempts to force detainees to board aircraft. In their response, the French authorities emphasise that the professional code of ethics - and the sanctions imposed on those who contravene that code - are periodically recalled, clarified and explained in detail. This is done by the central department of the border police and senior officers, taking into account the specific nature of the tasks which law enforcement officials are required to carry out.

The CPT has recommended that certain aspects of the directives concerning the forcible removal of foreign nationals by air should be completed and updated. An assessment has been undertaken by the French authorities, which should soon result in the directives being updated. In particular, they will list in a precise and comprehensive manner those techniques which are prohibited in all circumstances, as well as those which must always be employed. In this respect, it will be recalled that techniques which can directly or indirectly obstruct the airways, such as compression of the thorax or techniques involving restriction of limbs with adhesives, are to be prohibited.

In their response, the French authorities also provide details on a series of initiatives currently underway and measures taken following CPT recommendations concerning detention areas in terminals and at the local removal unit (for example, the resolution of reported problems regarding the provision of meal trays to foreigners).

The holding conditions of ZAPI Nos. 2 and 3 show a clear improvement. These conditions, subject to the improvements suggested by the CPT, could be satisfactory for periods of up to 20 days.

Measures have also been recommended with a view to improving the health care of detained persons. In this respect, the response describes measures aimed at reinforcing the health-care team in the ZAPI and indicates that a permanent medical presence will be maintained in the holding zone.

For more information on the Committee, including contact details, visit the following website:

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