Mayotte (Maore) is one of the 4 main islands of theComoros. Mayotte is still administrated by France despite several UN General Assembly resolutions calling since 1976 for “France withdrawal” (A/RES/31/4, A/RES/37/65,A/RES/49/18). On January 18th 1995, the French police started requiring all citizens of the other islands of the Comoros to obtain a visa to visit Mayotte. The same year, a clandestine facility is opened in Pamandzi to detain migrants awaiting deportation.
On April 14th 2008, the French National Commission of the Ethic of Security (CNDS) released a report on his visit of the center (2007-135, 2007-136). It found 3 large immigration cells, 4 showers, 6 restrooms and a police custody cell. The chief of the center admitted to detain up to 220 migrants including children despite an “unofficialmaximum capacity” of 60. Migrants were locked into cells and forced to sit, eat and sleep on the floor due to the absence of furniture. There was no access to health care and to legal assistance. On November 20th 2008, the Commissioner for Human Rights Hammarberg “urged that the living conditions of foreigners held in Mayotte be improved immediately” (CommDH(2008)34 VII-11).
The conditions in the center are in violation with CPT standards (CPT/Inf/E (2002) 1) that states that the immigration detention center should “provide accommodation which is adequately-furnished, clean and in a good state of repair, and which offers sufficient living space for the numbers involved“. (..) “As regards regime activities, they should include outdoor exercise(..)” (p54).
On April 5th 2011, the 1st section of the ECHR ruled in judgment Rahimi v. Greece (8687/08) that the conditions of detention in the immigration center of Pagani were “so serious they violated the very meaning of human dignity“. The 7 Judges added that these conditions “irrespective of the length of the detention” of the applicant, amounted to “degrading treatment in breach of article 3“. The conditions in the center of Pamandzi, similar to the ones of Pagani (see video below) amount also to a violation of article 3 of the Convention.
Since April 2009, the publicly funded Christian organization CIMADE is granted permanent access to the center of Pamandzi to provide legal assistance. More than 30,000 migrants have been detained since then. But according to Ms. Ballestrero (CIMADE Mayotte chapter), her organization didn't advise any detained migrants to obtain compensation for the violation of article 3 of the Convention.