No to the veil of silence on detention centers for migrants

Campaign for right of access in detention centers

Within the framework of the campaign launched by Migreurop network for a right of access in detention centers for migrants, national and european members of Parliament and militants of associations will examine those centers in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France between January the 30th and February the 7th of 2009. In Mauritania, where a detention center financed by Europe is working, a sensitization day will be organized.

The “return” directive had just been adopted by the European Union - directive which formalizes the widespread detention of migrants - when the Italian authorities decided to extend to 18 months, length of migrants’ detention who are waiting for expulsion. Mid-January 2009, the Italian Minister of Interior announced that he wanted to transform Lampedusa Island in a huge detention center, where would be kept boat-people landed up in this extreme-south coast of Italy, before being massively sent back at the end of hasty procedures.

In France, where threats bear upon access conditions of associations in detention centers - in which tensions, fires, suicide attempts, etc. increase - reducing, de facto, the effective exercise of migrant’s rights, the press revealed the shameful conditions in which migrants are treated in Mayotte. In Belgium, some migrants went on hunger strike to protest against their detention conditions. In the name of the struggle against the irregular immigration, and under the pretext of answering to the public opinion’s expectations , migrants’ detention in Europe is being set up to a system, as a part of a dangerous european harmonization of migrants’ detention.

However, the European Parliament [1] is worrying about the increase number of detention centers for migrants in the member States and to their borders during the last years, and about the frequent violations of human rights which are regularly denounced in these places. The Parliament asks for the access of NGOs, specialized in protection of fundamental migrants’ rights and asylum seekers, to be guaranteed in those centers, for an independent organ of control to supervise at the european level, their functioning, and for an annual report analyzing the situation of people placed in detention centers which are under the authority of member States, inside or outside their borders.
Camps for migrants are the epicenter of many blows to human rights. Let’s not draw a veil of silence on them. The associations and civil society have the right to know what happens there.

Press Contact:

Tel: +33 1 53 27 87 81

All informations on the campaign for a Right of access in detention centers for migrants can be found on Migreurops’ website, country per country: