INTERNATIONAL MEETING: Open access to detention centres now

Paris, 22 October 2011

« Human rights and freedom of information : Open access to detention centers now"

Paris, October, 22nd

3.30 PM- 5.30 PM

Centre International de Culture Populaire, 21 ter rue Voltaire, 75011


Metro stops: Alexandre Dumas (Line 2) or Rue des boulets ( Line 9)

Alternatives Européennes and Migreurop are working with partners from all over Europe to launch the « Open access to detention centers now » campaign.


15.30 – 16.00 Presentation of the situation in detention centers in Europe ; Presentation of the campaign. Claire Rodier, Migreurop and Ségolène Pruvot, Alternatives Européennes.

With representatives of NGOs working for migrants rights coming from Romania, Greece, Bulgaria, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Belgium, France.

16.00 – 16.30 Speakers’ answers :

Rokhaya Diallo, commentator and NGO activist.

Alain Morice, from University-Paris7,URMIS and Migreurop.

With members of the European Parliament and journalists.

16.30 – 17.30 Debate with the audience and with the participation of NGOs representatives working for migrants rights. Migreurop, Alternatives Européennes, Cimade (FR), FASTI (FR), Observatoire de l’enfermement (FR), GISTI (FR), SOS Racismo (ES), ARCI (IT), Open Society Migration Initiative (UK), Rete primo marzo (IT), MSF Greece (GRE), Poradana organisation (CZ), Open Society Foundation (BUL), Migrant Information center Cluj-Napoca (ROU), League for Defence of Human rights Cluj-Napoca (ROU), SIP (POL), LDH (Belgium)

Most EU member-states manage migration flows thanks to detention centres for migrants. Human rights violations have been reported in most countries, with de facto detainees, who have committed no crime, being denied legal advice, external communication, and freedom of movement. Living conditions are abysmal and have been denounced by human rights organisations

If the drama of people crossing the sea to reach European shores has attracted some media attention, the public is largely unaware of the conditions of detention in place in these centers. The large media attention that Lampedusa’s centre does not give an adequate picture of the situation, since many migrants are detained in other centres everywhere in Europe. Access to detention centres is indeed in most countries limited or impossible for journalists, human right groups, and civil society and in some cases even to local authorities. This is doubly problematic, as it infringes migrants’ rights as well as freedom of information and expression.

For so long as journalists, lawyers and activists will not be granted access to detention centres, the public will be kept unaware of the reality hindering any possibility for European citizens to build an opinion on detention centres freely.