This text is a first version of a call for citizen's access to detention centers, proposed to partner organisation in the campaign. The text will be circulated, reworked and finalized before the meeting.
Today the situation of migrants who arrive by sea on European soil is given much publicity in the media. The representation is predominantly based on the fear of a large-scale influx of arrivals, the shocking travelling conditions along with the many related deaths.
What is often forgotten is an almost obligatory step in their lives: migrants are almost compelled to go through administrative detention centres where they stay locked away while pending their identification and expulsion.
People can be held up in these detention centres for up to 18 months before being expelled. The conditions of detention vary but they are often characterized by deprivation of freedoms and inhuman and degrading treatments in many cases.
Under European legislation (see Article 11 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights, about the 'freedom to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority”), the access to information is an inalienable right of European citizens, defended by all European institutions.
In many European countries the access of journalists and civil society members who are able to provide independent information to migrants in detention centers is still extremely limited and controlled. Only national and European members of parliament have access to these centres at any time.
We call for extending and providing access for journalists and members of civil society organizations to detention centers in all countries of the European Union and beyond.
Furthermore, we call for the mobilization of people whose access is already provided in order to encourage the development of national and European legislation in this area. It is for this reason that European Alternatives and Migreurop will jointly organise a transnational forum titled “Open access to detention centres for migrants in Europe” in Paris on October, 22nd, 2011.
Today migrations and conditions of access are much discussed topics in Europe, and the associated decisions in these issues are political ones. Therefore it is essential that European citizens have access to information to be able to build a structured opinion about migrants’conditions of detention and their living conditions.
European Alternatives and Migreurop