Open Letter to the candidates for the 6th June 2009 European elections

Since its foundation, Migreurop has denounced the consequences of the EU policies that use detention of migrants as the main tool to control migratory flows. Deprivation of liberty for someone whose crime is to try to live or survive in another country is highly questionable. Moreover, detention places are places of dehumanization where many abuses, human rights violations and acts of violence take place. The recent riots in detention centers for migrants in Malta, Italy and France since the beginning of the year should have raised awareness on the situation of detained migrants. Instead, European policies tend to institutionalized systems of detention and removal of migrants within the European Union and outside its borders.

For the first time in the area of asylum and migration, the European Parliament had the possibility to prevent this institutionalization process of detention and removal of migrants, but the adoption of the ‘return’ directive in December 2008 was a step back in fundamental rights in the European Union as it made the use of detention the only way to deal with migrants.

However, in a report on fundamental rights in the EU (2004-2008) adopted in a plenary session on 14th January 2009, the European Parliament had expressed some concerns regarding the multiplication of detention centers in the members states and at the EU borders, the human rights violations committed in these centers and the readmission provisions included in most of the agreements signed with third countries which led to an increasing externalization of EU migration policies.

With detention centers spreading, debate about them dwindling, and systems of detention and removal of migrants on the rise, Migreurop calls the candidates for the European elections to commit themselves fully to play their role of democratic control in the procedure of co-decision.

European elections are an opportunity for Migreurop to call on the candidates to:

  Prevent the adoption or the implementation of control system of migration flows that lead to human rights violations

  To stop repressive and securitarian trends in European policies on control of migration flows, by demanding the withdrawal of the ‘return’ directive and a stop to the detention of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers

  To include in their campaign programmes - immediately and as a minimum requirement -the demands expressed during the campaign ‘for a right to access to detention centers’: right of access for civil society to detention places for migrants, creation of a monitoring body on the situation in these detention places, guarantee that detained migrants have access to an independent system in which their rights are upheld (see

  To include in their campaign programmes - immediately and as a minimum requirement - the demands expressed during the information campaign on readmission agreements: a halt to on-going negotiations and the cancellation of signed readmission agreements in countries of origin and transit countries of deported persons, removal of readmission provisions included in negotiations on development and legal immigration, request for information and for involvement from the European Parliament in the discussions on these agreements, publication of regular reports on the situation of deported people from the EU in application of these provisions (see



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