“Migrants detained for administrative reasons are not criminals”

Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and Thierry Mariani, Chairperson of its Committee on migration, refugees and displaced persons, today called for better regulation and monitoring of immigration detention, as Assembly members and their colleagues made co-ordinated visits to immigration detention centres in countries across the Council of Europe to mark International Migrants Day.

“Migrants detained for administrative reasons are not criminals”, said Anne Brasseur, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. “The European Convention on Human Rights allows their detention only under strict conditions. Too often, however, people are locked up for no better reason than administrative convenience, sometimes without time limit and so with no definite prospect of release. There are also still too many cases of immigration detention in poor and even degrading conditions. As the number of migrants and asylum-seekers grows, states should reconsider their practices and use alternatives to detention whenever possible, ensuring that migrants’ human rights are fully respected.”

“National parliamentarians are ideally placed to raise public awareness of problems in this area and to hold the responsible authorities to account”, said Mr Mariani. “Today’s visits by parliamentarians to immigration detention centres and other facilities dealing with migrants and asylum seekers are a demonstration of this. The Assembly’s Migration Committee has an ongoing programme of visits to immigration detention centres and, thanks to our General Rapporteur Doris Fiala, is now also campaigning against the immigration detention of children, which we believe should never take place.”

At the initiative of President Brasseur and the Parliamentary Assembly’s migration committee, parliamentarians from Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Finland, Greece, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, ‘the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’ and Ukraine will be visiting immigration detention centres and other facilities for migrants and asylum seekers on and around 18 December 2015, International Migrants Day.

***

Photos of these visits will be made available via the Twitter accounts of the Parliamentary Assembly (@PACE_News) and the migration committee (@PACE_Migration), as well as flickr.