This post is also available in: Inglese
9 July 2013
A favoured tool of immigration and asylum management, migrant detention continue to expand within the European Union but also at its southern and eastern borders. Inhumane and degrading treatment occurs on a daily basis as a direct consequence of the policies and practices implemented in Europe. Yet these rights violations remain mostly hidden, as everything is designed to keep immigration detention centres and the detainees away from civil society and the media.
The campaign of visits we organised between 26 March and 26 April 2012 demonstrated yet again the clear intention on the part of the authorities to control, if not prevent, any external scrutiny .
Following a question by seven MEPs in March 2013  on “the access of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the media to detention centres and their right to information”, the European Commission has recently declared  that “the repeated refusal to visit detention facilities without objective justification would undermine the right of NGOs enshrined in Article 16 (4) [of the EU Returns Directive], and could be considered as an infringement “.
A campaign of parliamentary visits was launched on 24 April 2013 at the Europe an Parliament to support the demands of the Open Access campaign. Several MEPs undertook visits in order to increase public attention, to highlight the need for transparency and to allow more visibility and public awareness of the problems linked to the detention of migrants. These visits aim to push European and national legislation to towards a greater respect for human rights.
Beside the issue of accessing immigration detention centres, following the visits organised in 2009 , 2011 and 2012, what is clear is that the situation in these centres remains essentially the same and is characterised by conditions similar to those found in prisons. There are regular infringements on fundamental rights around access to medical treatment, making an asylum claim, obtaining legal support and having a judge supervise the decision to detain.
Alessandra Capodanno (Migreurop) – email@example.com – 0033 1 53 27 87 81
Laure Blondel (Anafé) – firstname.lastname@example.org – 0033 1 43 67 27 52
See Open Access Press Releases (www.openaccessnow.eu)
– Launch of the campaign of parliamentary visits in migrants’ detention centers, 24 April 2013
– Visits campaign 2012 : Obstacles to the right to know, 10 May 2012
– The right to information of civil society and the press violated in detention centers for migrants,
17 April 2012
You can sign our call out here: http://www.openaccessnow.eu/sign-up/
1.Report on the 2012 Campaign of Visits [accessible online]
2.Parliamentary question requiring a written reply asked to the Commission on 5 March 2013 by MEP Hélène Flautre (Verts/ALE), Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL), Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE), Cornelia Ernst (GUE/NGL), Carmen Romero López (S&D), Raül Romeva i Rueda (Verts/ALE), Sylvie Guillaume (S&D) [available online]
3.Answer given by Mrs Malmström on behalf of the European Commission on 13 May 2013 [available online]
4.Hélène Flautre, “Follow up on the visit of the administrative detention centre number 3 in Mesnil Amelot”, 15 May 2013 [available online]
5.Marie-Christine Vergiat and Isabelle Pasquet, “Visit of the administrative detention centre of CANET as part of the OPEN ACCESS Campaign”, 26 June 2013 [available online]
6.Fabrice Tassel, “Valls favorable à l’ouverture des centres de rétention à la presse”, Libération, 11 June 2013 [available online] and Carine Fouteau, “Pour un accès libre des journalistes aux centres de rétention”, Mediapart,16 February 2013 [available online]
7.Open Access Now, “Access to the Detention centers for foreigners (CIE) of Aluche (Madrid) denied for NGOs and journalists as part of a delegation with Members of the European Parliament”, 10 May 2013 [available online]
8.SOS Racisme Catalunya, “SOS Racisme Catalunya dénonce, encore une fois, la fermeture des “Centros de Internamiento de personas extranjeras” (CIE) à la société civile”, 29 June 2013 [available online, in Spanish]
9.For further information on this mobilization, see the website
10.Migreurop, “No to the veil of silence on detention centers for migrants”, 28 January 2009 [available online]
11.Migreurop, “Europe and Africa : Ten visits in the camps of shame – Campaign of parliamentary visits for a right of access inside detention centres for migrants – 7-31 March 2011”, 15 april 2011 [available online]
12.Open Access Now, “2012 Campaign of visits: Don’t come in! Rights are being violated!”, 14 June 2012 [available online]