French and Other Selected European Perspectives on Asylum

Liisa Coulombe

Abstract


This is a report of a conference, "Les
réfugiés en France et en Europe:
Quarante ans d'application de la
Convention de Genève 1952-1992,"
which took place on June 11-13 in Paris,
organized by the Office francais de
protection des réfugiés et apatrides
(OFPRA).
Any conference held in the
international conference centre in Paris,
a showcase of the French Foreign Affairs
Department, could only be an official
one. An alternative gathering convened
simultaneously. But since the French
readilyagreeto disagree, somedivergent
perspectives on their past and present
govemment policies and services were
courteously voiced at this first ever
OFPRA conference-on the rostrum,
that is, since the masses were kept silent
and their written questions filtered on
occasion.
A VIP set-up was not foolproof.
Some distinguished government
officiaIs and guests were forced, along
with others, into an overflow room to
watch the proceedings on a screen. Like
states, the conference had a welcoming
staff that did not exercise border control
in the early hours of the influx.

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