Deprivation of freedom
In Europe today, roughly 600,000 people including children are detained every year, most often without a court decision. This detention can last up to 18 months until the detainee is removed merely for breach of EU member states’ immigration laws. These people are not just deprived of their freedom of movement. Often, they are deprived of access to legal advice, health care and the right to live as a family...
Lack of transparency
Today, in most EU countries, journalists and civil society have very limited access to migrant detention centres. Often, even when one accesses it is impossible to meet people in detention, or even to talk to them. Generally, only Members of national and European Parliaments have right of access. This lack of transparency increases the risk of malpractice and numerous rights violations. Yet access to information is an inalienable right of European citizens, defended by all European institutions (article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights refers to the ’freedom... to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority’). Even the ’Return’ Directive of 16 December 2008, which many organisations continue to clearly condemn in particular on the issue of length of detention, states that ’relevant and competent national, international and non-governmental organisations and bodies shall have the possibility to visit detention centres’. These principles must be respected. Places where foreigners are detained must not remain a reality that is hidden from civil society.