Autumn 2008 and autumn 2009, the French government, in partnership with the British government, is trying to expel Afghans arrested in Calais to Afghanistan by flights co-organized by the two countries. The outcome would be meagre in the end, with nine people actually expelled in the autumn 2009. Mobilization of associations was significant, and legal procedures prevented most of the deportations.

Seven years later, a readmission agreement has been signed between the European Union and Afghanistan to facilitate the deportations, without provoking that much protest.

Attempts at deportations to Sudan are recurrent (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here , here and there), and rarely result in actual deportation. To move in this direction, the government prefers this time not to proceed on a grand scale. Six Sudanese exiles were arrested in Calais during the destruction of the shantytown and sent to the Vincennes retention centre. Of the six, four have been released, one in pre-trial detention awaiting trial for opposing his identification by the Sudanese consulate, and one has been deported, whose legal avenues had been exhausted.

The French courts, little invested in the implementation of international conventions, did not take into account the serious risk of arbitrary detention, inhuman and degrading treatment and torture in the Sudan following the expulsion.

And the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), although a guarantor of respect for the European Convention on Human Rights, did not even consider the application for suspension of the deportation decision . In terms of procedure, where a decision is likely to lead to a violation of the Convention and appeals to national courts have been exhausted, an emergency appeal may be lodged with the ECHR to suspend that decision, the Court’s ruling, which may take several years. But before the ECHR makes an urgent decision on the suspension, there is a sorting of the files, between those that will be examined and those that will be rejected without examination. When one knows the situation in the Sudan you might be shocked that an application is rejected without even being examined. This is the result of financial pressures from States on the ECHR to change its procedures under the pretext of speed and efficiency.


After Sudan, Eritrea. Three people, arrested in Calais, locked up in the detention center of Mesnil-Amelot, located just next to Charles-de-Gaulle airport for reasons of convenience, risk being deported to that country.

Despite Amnesty International’s efforts to collect 5,000 signatures on possible expulsions in Sudan, the mobilization of associations remains modest, far from what it was in 2009, while some legal closures have eroded.

Step by step there is a trivialization of expulsions towards countries at war and dictatorships that we are witnessing too calmly, while the governments and the European Commission are setting up agreements with these countries so that they prevent the Exiles, and especially those who flee from them, from reaching Europe


Jan Matejco : Stanczyk.