Refoulement: France returns an Eritrean woman to Eritrea

The prefecture of the Pyrénées-Orientales (South-West of France) deported an Eritrean national to her country of origin on 6 June 2019. According to RFI Africa, the French prefecture arrested the Eritrean woman on 8 May at the Spanish border with a “counterfeit” residence permit. The French newspaper Le Figaro explains that the Eritrean national filed an asylum application with the administrative court and appealed to the jurisdiction, unsuccessfully, after being placed in a detention centre in Toulouse by the French authorities. It is the first return from France to Eritrea and can be considered refoulement, due to the fact that the woman is likely to face persecution and human rights abuses in Eritrea.

The requests of the Eritrean woman for the annulment of the decision forcing her to leave French territory and the asylum application were rejected by the court and by the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons (OFPRA), reports Le Figaro. La Cimade, a French NGO advocating for the rights of migrants and refugees, states that the migrant woman has been deprived of a real right of appeal. The NGO mentions that the national has lodged an appeal with the National Court of Asylum (CNDA) following the rejection of her application by the OFPRA. However, this appeal was not examined before her expulsion to Eritrea.

According to La Cimade, the deportation to Eritrea was carried out under police escort via Istanbul. The NGO claims that this was the first expulsion carried out by France to this country. In this regard, the NGO recalls that “this is the first expulsion by France to Eritrea, a country where one of the most violent dictatorships in the world reigns” notes Le Figaro.