Police practices of border control: one year of pushbacks and denial of rights at the French-Italian border


Press release published by Tous Migrants, 18 January 2023. A new report exposes and denounces abusive practices by border police in the Briançon area.

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Briançon, January 18, 2023 - Tous Migrants publishes a report [link to pdf] exposing the results of an investigation conducted during one year (November 2021 - November 2022) on the control system of the French-Italian border in the Briançon area. This report includes numerous testimonies that illustrate the non-respect of the rights of migrants, as well as the practices of hindering solidarity against people 'marauding' in the mountains.

On September 23, 2022, the newly appointed prefect of the Hautes-Alpes declared that he wanted to make "illegal immigration" a priority, and underlined "the commitment of the police officers, and in particular the Border Police officers who work in difficult conditions to do this job, and who do an exemplary job with total respect for the people they question."

These assertions are contradicted by the qualitative survey conducted for a year by Tous Migrants , the results of which are presented in this new report, which exposes the current situation at the border and the methods used by the police against exiled people when they enter France.

The border control system takes the form of targeted controls and chases, and the report highlights expeditious procedures that prevent people from exercising their rights, including the fundamental right to apply for asylum in France.

Refoulements are illegal, as are the deprivations of liberty to which people are subjected before being sent back to Italy. These practices constitute a major obstacle to the evaluation of the state of health of people who have just spent several hours in the mountains.

These police practices against exiled people are accompanied by practices of repression of solidarity, in the form of regular obstructions to the progress of 'marauding' in the mountains. Part of the investigation reports repeated identity checks, tailing, intimidation, abusive fines, suffered by the people involved in the 'marauding' activities, as well as obstacles to the exercise of the medical profession by the Médecins du Monde health care teams.

Numerous investigations have been carried out at the French-Italian border since 2017 by associations and collectives, [2] but also by independent administrative authorities [3] and by European and French parliamentarians. [4] These publications have resulted in almost no political reaction or significant change in the practices of the forces of order.

It is to oppose the trivialization and perpetuation of these that Tous Migrants publishes this new report focused on the border of the Briançonnais, and asks once again the political and administrative authorities to act so that the fundamental rights of migrants are respected.



[1] BFM DICI : « Postes vacants à la police aux frontières de Montgenèvre : le préfet veut prendre des dispositions » 23 septembre 2022.

[2] Anafé. 2019. Personna non grata, Conséquences des politiques sécuritaires et migratoires à la frontière franco-italienne – Rapport d’observations 2017-2018. http://www.anafe.org/spip.php?article520 

Anafé. 2022. À l’abri des regards L’enfermement « ex-frame » à la frontière franco-italienne. http://www.anafe.org/spip.php?article648

CAFI. 2021. Migrations : pour la protection des droits fondamentaux. https://projet-cafi.com/#rapports

La Cimade. 2018. Dedans, dehors : une Europe qui s’enferme. https://www.lacimade.org/publication/dedans-dehors-une-europe-qui-senferme/

Human Rights Watch. 2019. « Ça dépend de leur humeur » - Le traitement des enfants non accompagnés dans les Hautes-Alpes. https://www.hrw.org/fr/report/2019/09/05/ca-depend-de-leur-humeur/traitement-des-enfants-migrants-non-accompagnes-dans-les

[3] Commission nationale consultative des Droits de l’Homme. 2018. Avis sur la situation des migrants à la frontière franco-italienne. https://www.cncdh.fr/publications/avis-sur-la-situation-des-migrants-la-frontiere-franco-italienne

[4] Groupe écologiste du Sénat. 2021. Synthèse des maraudes des parlementaires écologistes et solidaires à Montgenèvre (Hautes-Alpes) de décembre 2020 à avril 2021

Report available at the Tous Migrants website. Translation by Statewatch.

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