On October 17th an international conference on human rights violations and alternatives to administrative detention, organised by European Alternatives and the Italian campaign LasciateCIEntrare, took place at the European Parliament under the title “The Routinisation of Administrative Detention of Migrants and Free Movement of Citizens: Time to Explore Alternatives”. It succeeded in bringing together representatives of national governments, the European Parliament and civil society in order to explore ways in which the detention of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees can be prevented at the European level. The conference focused on long-term objectives, such as advocating for a stronger role for European institutions in safeguarding and protecting the free movement of citizens, including third-country nationals, as well as pushing for the adoption of European Union legislation in this field, setting clear standards of liberty of the person’s residence and freedom of movement.
The October conference at the European Parliament followed on the request for a hearing submitted by the coalition to the European Commission about the transposition of the EU’s ‘Return Directive’ (2008/115/EC) in the Member States.
The conference hosted the Italian Minister for Integration, Cécile Kyenge Kashetu, the Members of the European Parliament Silvia Costa (S&D), Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE NGL), Hélène Flautre (Greens/EFA), as well as activists and academics from all over Europe. They advocated for a radical change in migration policies in Europe, which constantly cause tragedies such as the widely publicised tragedy of Lampedusa. Taking place in this very sensitive context, the conference pushed forward clear alternative proposals to the routinisation of administrative detention of migrants and the obstacles to free movement of citizens.
Over the last few years European Alternatives has been working intensively to defend Migrants’ rights, the free movement of citizens, and against the politics of detention, notably through the campaigns Open Access Now, launched in 2011 with Migreurop, and LasciateCIEntrare and a broad coalition of associations. Both campaigns call for access to detention centres for migrants by journalists and civil society organisations, and fights against the suspension and restrictions of basic European civil rights, such as the right to independent and free information.
European Alternatives has thus far worked towards contributing to a reasoned policy change to better address all areas of migration with European institutions also the implementation of its short term programme entitled “A New Migration Policy for Europe”. European Alternatives and its partners have also run several other projects related to migrant’s rights, such as the 3-year-long process that has come to produce the Citizens Manifesto and specific advocacy actions in view of the ‘Return Directive’ revision. European Alternatives played an active role in the European Year of Citizens Alliance – EYCA 2013 – working group on European and inclusive citizenship. This followed a research and consultation process aiming at identifying key policy areas where European advocacy can be promoted, while building greater collaboration amongst relevant European actors.
European Alternatives and other member organisations of the “Open Access Now” campaign are now actively participating in the process promoted by Melting Pot Europe and many other civil society organisations in the aftermath of the Lampedusa tragedy, which is leading to the development of a more comprehensive proposal: ‘The Charter of Lampedusa’ adopted on the 2nd of February 2014 and the quest for democratic legitimacy of EU migration policies.
Here you can find the whole catalogue available for download: TRANSEUROPA Festival 2013.