“Boy in a Bubble” – Article L. Schülke

Article written by Laura Schülke and published in the Huffington Post, 8th April 2014. This article gives a startling insight into French immigration Law and it’s much criticised “transit zones”  through the story of Abid a young syrian child.

Abid fled Syria without his parents, with a few other children, fearing for his life. He took a two-day truck ride from a war-torn city in Syria to Turkey. There, he boarded a plane with a smuggler, ending up thousands of kilometers away from the bombs and yet not feeling safe. When he reached France, the government detained him at the airport for trying to enter French territory without proper documentation. The authorities held him in a farcical no-man’s land to determine whether he should be sent back to Syria or whether he could come “into” France, a country he had already physically set both feet on.

Under French law, migrants without proper documentation, including children, get stuck in what is called the “transit zone” between the international zone and French territory.

Transit zones violate international law, leaving children without their full rights as well as proper protection and care. The European Court of Human Rights has also ruled against keeping children in transit zones.

France, under international law, is obliged to treat these extremely vulnerable children just like it treats the children on the rest of its territory. That means abolishing the absurdity of the transit zone, and accommodating them in open centers until the administration has ruled on their status.

To read the article in full, please click on the following link :



Laura Schülke is a senior associate with the children’s rights division at Human Rights Watch. She has researched the situation of unaccompanied migrant children detained in transit zones in France.

Human Rights Watch Chldren’s Rights division : http://www.hrw.org/topic/childrens-rights