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10 May 2021 – France

Outside View of the Zone d'Attente pour les Personnes Maintenues en Instance (ZAPI), (C. Bouanchaud,
Outside View of the Zone d'Attente pour les Personnes Maintenues en Instance (ZAPI), (C. Bouanchaud, "Covid-19 : craignant que la zone d’attente de l’aéroport de Roissy ne se transforme en cluster, les associations se retirent," Le Monde,

On 26 April 2021, the National Association for Assistance at Borders for Non-Citizens (Association Nationale d’Assistance aux Frontières pour les Étrangers or ANAFE) announced that it was temporarily stopping its operations at the Zone d’Attente pour Personnes en Instance (ZAPI) of Roissy airport, a transit zone where non-citizens without authorisation to enter France are held for brief periods of time. ANAFE took the decision because of the lack of sanitary measures at the facility, including lack of ventilation; cramped corridors; no social distancing; no disinfectant supplies; masks not properly worn or not worn by people in custody or staff members; and no hydroalcoholic gel or self-service soap provided to detainees.

During the week of 19 April 2021, 120 people were held in the ZAPI of Roissy, which has 160 places. As of 26 April 2021, 126 people were still being held and every week, several confirmed COVID-19 cases are discovered. The Bar Association of Seine-Saint-Denis also withdrew last week for four days to protest the lack of health measures adopted, while the Red Cross had already withdrawn from the ZAPI of Roissy on 21 April 2021.

Despite reports of conditions and petitions to the courts, on 23 April 2021 a judge (juge des libertés et de la détention) stated that “while conditions in the ZAPI can be improved … they could not be considered as endangering the health of the occupants.”

Separately, in Mayotte, an overseas department region of France, imposed a strict lockdown in March 2020, halting maritime and air travel and intercepting kwassas-kwassas carrying Comoros nationals. In total, 703 speed boats were detected during 2020, while 470 were interedicted and 3,989 people were arrested by Mayotte authorities. In September 2020, 10 people including a child drowned during the passage, after their kwassa-kwassa carrying 24 capsized. Importantly, Comoros nationals often face administrative detention in Mayotte, which has been criticised for its degrading treatment and lack of procedural safeguards: in June 2020, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that the immigration-related administrative detention and expulsion of two Comoros children from Mayotte violated the European Convention on Human Rights.