Call «For a right of access inside detention centres for migrants»

Ever since its creation, Migreurop has denounced the multiplication of the detention centres for foreigners that member states of the European Union have been setting up within the context of their fight against illegal immigration. The phenomenon concerns EU countries as well as those outside European borders which are urged by Europe to « hold back » or to « take back » would-be immigrants. Systems for detaining and removing foreigners vary from country to country but in all of them there is a generalization of the detention of
persons who have committed no offence but that relative to entry or residence. That extension of foreigners’detention tends to be institutionalized by the European Union, in particular through the adoption by the European Parliament, on 18 June 2008, of the
« Directive on Return » which validates practices of detention of third country nationals for immoderate lengths.

The detention centres for third country nationals are often situated in out-of-the-way places with little visibility for civil society. The right of access for NGOs defending migrants’rights is limited or even non-existent. This favours the risks of abuse and infringement on the

At a time when Europe reinforces its control and detention devices, civil society demands a:

right of access to the detention centres of foreigners in order to :

 make public the fact and the conditions of the detention of third country nationals in those centres,

 act in alerting and defending the detained foreigners,

 bear evidence on the consequences of the detention and on situations leading to violations of migrants’rights.

In order that the right of access may be exercized in the detention centres by the actors of civil society, we demand

That the States :

 guarantee, through the law and without restriction, a right of access for civil society and for NGOs in the detention centres for third country nationals,

 guarantee that detained foreigners have access to help for the defence of their rights, by agents independent of the national authorities,

 guarantee that a regular control on the situation of migrants in those detention centres be operated by organizations that are independent of the national authorities,

 give the civil society an account of the situation in the detention centres, in particular by providing information on the existence, the number and the functioning of detention places for foreigners on their territory.

That the European Union :

 create the obligation for Member States to give civil society an effective right of access to the detention centres for foreigners,

 organize a mechanism of control on the situation in the detention centres, in the Member States as well as in the third countries with which the EU has made migratory agreements ; this implies regular visits by organizations independent of the Member States, and the presentation of reports on the situation in the detention places to the European Parliament, at least once a year

 impose on Member States the obligation to guarantee that detained migrants have an effective access to an independent system of defence of detained foreigners’rights

Members of Migreurop

First signataries