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ECtHR rules on living conditions in a temporary camp for asylum applicants in Metz, France

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Other Source/Information:
Referral to the CJEU
Original Documents
Relevant Legislative Provisions
Dublin Regulation III (Regulation (EU) No 604/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 June 2013 establishing the criteria and mechanisms for determining the Member State responsible for examining an application for IP); European Convention on Human Rights; Revised Reception Conditions Directive (Directive 2013/33/EU laying down standards for the reception of applicants for international protection) and/or RCD 2003/9/CE;
Council of Europe, European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR], B.G. and Others v France, Application no. 63141/13, ECLI:CE:ECHR:2020:0910JUD006314113, 10 September 2020. Link redirects to the English summary in the EUAA Case Law Database.
Permanent link to the case
Case history
Related cases:

The case concerned the living conditions in a temporary camp for asylum applicants in Metz. The ECtHR held unanimously that there had been no violation of Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment) of the ECHR. According to the ECtHR's Press Release:

The seventeen applicants, asylum-seekers, are members of four Albanian, Bosnian and Kosovar2 families, including minor children. They complained that they had been accommodated for several months in a tent camp set up on a carpark in Metz, directly on the concrete ground, and that they had not been provided with the material and financial support to which they were entitled under domestic law.

In March 2013 a camp for around forty-five asylum-seekers was set up near the asylum-seekers’ reception platform in Metz. The camp was later dismantled by decision of the Moselle prefect. Due to the saturation of accommodation facilities in the Moselle département, the prefect opened a camp on 19 June 2013 on a former car park located on Avenue de Blida in Metz. According to the applicants they lived there in tents placed on the concrete ground. The camp was dismantled and closed on 15 November 2013.

Applicants 1 to 12 had not maintained contact with their lawyer and had not provided any indication of their whereabouts or how they could be reached. In those circumstances the Court found that they had lost interest in the proceedings and no longer wished to pursue their application.

Applicants 13 to 17 are a couple of Kosovar nationality and their three children, aged 2, 9 and 11 at the time. The Court observed, first, that the applicants had merely indicated, in a general and unsubstantiated manner, that they had lived in a tent on concrete ground without providing any precise information enabling it to make a proper assessment of their living conditions with their children during the three months and eleven days they had stayed on the site, in particular as regards the possibilities for eating and washing. Secondly, the French authorities had not remained indifferent to the applicants’ situation and their basic needs – housing, food and washing – had all been met.

Although the applicants had not received the waiting allowance until 12 and 21 November 2013, it was not in dispute that they had received food aid in the form of vouchers between 29 June and 9 October 2013, the date of their departure from the camp. The children had been under medical supervision and vaccinated and those who were then aged 9 and 11 had been able to attend school. Lastly, accommodation in a permanent structure had been offered three months and eleven days after their arrival in the camp, which was relatively quick.

In the light of all these factors, the Court found that the applicants’ living conditions had improved rapidly and significantly. Moreover, during the period in question the applicants had not been left without any prospect of seeing their situation improve. They had been summoned to the prefecture on 10 September 2013 to file their asylum application. OFPRA had examined their application under the fast-track procedure and had decided on their asylum application on 3 February 2014.

While it was true that the camp on Avenue de Blida, where the applicants had lived from 29 June to 3 October 2013, had been overcrowded, that its sanitary conditions had been unsatisfactory and that it had become insalubrious over the weeks, the Court was not in a position to conclude that the applicants had found themselves, during the relevant period, in a situation of material deprivation that had reached the threshold of severity necessary to fall within the scope of Article 3.

Country of Decision
Council of Europe
Court Name
CoE: European Court of Human Rights [ECtHR]
Case Number
Application no. 63141/13
Date of Decision
Country of Origin
Torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment