Since its foundation, Migreurop has denounced the increase of detention centers for migrants in the European Union member states within the framework of their policies to combat irregular immigration. The phenomenon is common to EU countries and to those outside European borders which are urged by Europe to hold back or take back these migrants. Existing systems for detentions and expulsions of migrants vary from one country to another but there is a general tendency to detain people whose only crime is illegal entry or stay. This growth in migrant detention is being institutionalized by the European Union, most strikingly with the European Parliament’s adoption on 18th June 2008 of the Return Directive which legitimizes practices of detention of migrants for immoderate lengths of time.
These detention centers are often kept out of reach of civil society, lowering visibility of the issue. Access to detention centers by migrants’ rights organizations is limited or inexistent. This lack of access increases the risk of abuses and violations of detainees’ rights.
In this context, Migreurop launched a campaign to request an ‘right of access in detention centers’ in order to :
raise awareness on the situation and the detention conditions in these centers,
report violations and protect migrants’ rights in detention,
Inform on the consequences of detention and on situations leading to violations of migrants’ rights.
This campaign will be carried out at a national level by member organizations members of Migreurop but the aim is also to conduct this campaign at a European level.
January 14, 2009 Audition at the European Parliament to present the campaign and the related issues to the MEPs. Representants from France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Turkey will present the campain in their countries.
January 30, 2009 Action day for a right of access in detention centers. Migreurop will organize an Action Day in several countries (Italy, Belgium, France, Portugal, Mauritania) during which visits of detention centers by MPs and MEPs will be organized in collaboration with organizations members or partners of Migreurop. This day will enable to give international media coverage to this event and to show the importance of an oversight by the civil society of detention centers.
Mobilisations at a national level: Migreurop members are planning to lobby national parliaments to develop national legislation that would allow access to detention centers or apply existing legislation allowing this access.
Campaign Kit and Migreurop Call can be accessed on Migreurop website ‘Right of access in detention centers.