NGOs say France detained more migrants last year than in 2022

France held slightly more undocumented migrants in detention centres last year than in 2022, NGOs said on Tuesday, warning of increasing violence inside.

French authorities held 46,955 migrants in the detention centres across the country and in overseas territories in 2023, compared to 43,565 the previous year, a report by migrant rights groups including SOS Solidarity and France Terre d'Asile said.

In mainland France, the large majority were men, five percent were women and 87 individuals were children accompanied by their parents. More than 120 said they were under-18 but French authorities found them to be adults.

Most were Algerian, Tunisian and Moroccan.

On average they were held 28.5 days out of a maximum allowed of 90 days, a week more than the previous year.

Increasing violence

This had impacted the mental health of the detainees, sometimes leading to suicide attempts, self-mutilation, tensions and even violent incidents with people working with them, the report said.

Last year, four migrants died, it added.

"Never have our associations witnessed so many violent acts as in 2023," the report said.

It added that detainees sometimes clashed with others held with them, but some also complained of police violence.

But of those held in detention centres, 15 percent fewer had been expelled from the country last year compared to 2022, despite an increase in deportations overall, the report said.

(with AFP)

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