On 24 May 2018, the European Court of Human Rights ruled on case N.T.P. and others v. France (application no. 68862/13), which concerns a Congolese woman and her three young children who arrived in France in August 2013 and attempted to submit an asylum application. Her asylum application was not registered and she was given an appointment for approximately three months later. In consequence, as they did not have their status as asylum applicants, they were ineligible for any material or financial assistance from the French state. The applicants unsuccessfully lodged an urgent application before the Dijon Administrative Court seeking an order for their admission as asylum applicants, the authorisation to remain and their placement in a reception centre. The French Council of State dismissed an onward similar appeal. The applicants complain before the ECtHR that their inability to obtain a place in a reception facility on account of the French authorities’ refusal to register their asylum application had exposed them to inhuman and degrading treatment contrary to Article 3 ECHR.

The Court pointed out that the applicants had been accommodated in an association financed entirely by State funds, which included the provision of an evening meal and breakfast. It noted that while the applicants could only stay in the accommodation overnight, two of the children attended nursery school during the day. The applicants also received publicly-funded medical care and were assisted by non-governmental organisations. Therefore, in the ECtHR’s view, the French authorities could not be accused of having remained indifferent to their situation since they were able to attend to their most basic needs (food, hygiene and a place to live). In contrast to the applicants in M.S.S., the applicants in this case had the likelihood that their situation would improve, since they had an appointment with the national authorities to lodge their application. Therefore, the ECtHR found that the applicants’ situation did not reach the level of severity required under Article 3 ECHR.

Finally, the Court declared the applicants’ complaint under Article 8 ECHR inadmissible as they had not raised complaints related to their private and family life in the proceedings before the domestic administrative courts, failing to exhaust domestic courts.

Based on an unofficial translation by the ELENA Weekly Legal Update.

ELENA Weekly Legal Update, 25 May 2018, available here.

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