While people free themselves, Europe continues detaining

Appeal of 7 March

In the context of a political reconstruction in the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean that is already affecting relations with the European Union on migration issues, Migreurop launches its second campaign of visits in detention centres by MPs.

From 7 to 31 March 2011, national MPs and MEPs as well as activists from associations will visit detention centres in Bulgaria, Spain, Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, as well as in countriy that is neighbour of the European Union, in Mauritania, in which European institutions also finance this kind of facility.

As a reminder, in the framework of the campaign «For a right of access inside detention centres for migrants», in March 2009 the Migreurop network had invited MPs from several countries to visit detention centres for foreigners in order to exercise their right of access to information there.
The detention of foreigners is one of the responses by European Union member states to the migration phenomenon in Europe. The Returns Directive adopted in December 2008 should have been transposed in all the national legislations before the end of 2010, but only 9 EU member states out of 27 have transposed the Directive into their legislation so far.

While this European text has often been presented as a means of harmonising the conditions for returns and improve guarantees of the rights of migrants, it remains an instrument that does not guarantee respect for the rights of detainees: the maximum length of detention has been increased in numerous countries (Spain, Italy, Greece), and bans from European territory may be issued to last several years while members of the person’s family remain in one of the Union’s countries.

In 2010, Migreurop demanded the closure of detention camps in Europe and beyond, and renews this initiative in order for civil society to exercise its right within the camps to visit them (a right that is envisaged by the Returns Directive), one of whose goals is to gain a better knowledge of the living conditions of detainees and the effectiveness of their rights.

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