No to the detention of asylum-seekers in the Reception Directive!

Since the Tampere European Council in 1999, the heads of states and governments of the European Union have decided to implement the Common European Asylum System (CEAS). This will first lead to the adoption of common minimum standards, especially with respect to minimum reception conditions for asylum-seekers [1]. The Reception directive [2] was adopted in this context and aims to ensure dignified living standards to asylum-seekers, access to comparable living conditions in all Member states and to limit secondary migration movements within the European Union.

In 2007, a consultation of a large panel of parties involved in the asylum field (initiated by the European Green Paper [3]) cast light on reception conditions which remained largely insufficient. The European Commission therefore suggested amending the existing legislation. A proposal for a recast directive was submitted on 3 December 2008 [4] .

However, while the recast Directive is supposed to ensure higher standards to asylum-seekers and greater protection of their fundamental rights, the amended proposal currently negotiated [5] seems at odds with the initially set objective. Today, the point is not only to establish common rules for the reception of asylum-seekers. The proposal moves away from the original aim and includes, especially, provisions on detention.

The fact that the Directive explicitly mentions the possibility to detain asylum-seekers results in the trivialisation of detention as a way to manage people seeking international protection. This may incite Member states to resort to deprivation of liberty more systematically.
The Migreurop network has therefore formally called the MEPs parties to the negotiations to:

• Strip of the draft recast Directive from all elements that may legitimise or authorise detention, and to include explicit references to:

• The prohibition of the detention of asylum-seekers,

• Clear measures supporting the reception of all asylum-seekers in appropriate facilities depending on their situation (reception centres; psychiatric hospitals; reception centres for minors, or foster families) and to tangible support mechanisms to ensure their implementation.

Press contact: Olivier Clochard, Migreurop President - - 06 79 01 86 27