The Council of State rejects the request to close the waiting area for survivors of the “Ocean-Viking”


Migrants leave the “Ocean-Viking” in Toulon on November 11, 2022, after being rescued by the humanitarian maritime organization SOS Méditerranée.

The Council of State rejected, Saturday, November 19, the request of associations which demanded the closure of the waiting area created temporarily to receive migrants disembarked fromOcean-Viking, near Toulon. They believed that they were illegally deprived of their liberty there.

” The judge [des référés] notes the exceptional circumstances in which the reception of these people had to be organised” and observe “that the rights of these foreigners have not, by this sole fact, been impeded in a serious and manifestly illegal manner”. The institution had been seized on appeal by the National Association of Border Assistance for Foreigners (Anafé), after the rejection of its appeal before the judge in chambers of the administrative court of Toulon.

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The 234 survivors rescued in the Mediterranean by the ambulance ship Ocean-Viking and landed on November 11 in Toulon had been transferred to this area, created in a holiday center on the Giens peninsula, in Hyères in the Var, while their files were examined.

A large number of them have since been released, either by court order, or because they are unaccompanied minors, or because they have been admitted to the territory for asylum after interviews with the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (Ofpra).

“Absence of a serious infringement (…) of a fundamental freedom”

The interim judge of the Council of State notes that the Ofpra “was able to conduct the interviews legally scheduled” and “the liberties and detention judge and then the Aix-en-Provence Court of Appeal ruled on the extension of the detention measures, which was moreover refused for the vast majority of them”. He further notes “that, with the exception of the few hours during which the persons were present on the military base, the applicant association was able to access the holiday village without hindrance”.

According to the press release, the Ministry of the Interior sent Anafé a “updated list of sixteen people” maintained in this center, “in order to facilitate the exercise of his mission of assistance, as he had undertaken during the hearing at the Council of State” which was held on Friday, and “lawyers also have access to the holiday village”. The judge in chambers of the Council of State thus concludes to “the absence of a serious and manifestly illegal interference with a fundamental freedom”.

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The World with AFP



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