Parliamentarians visit migration detention centres

Monday, May 6, 2013

What are the living conditions for asylum seekers and other migrants in detention centres? In a campaign for more openness and transparency members of the European Parliament will visit different detention places to review the current situation for those inside.

The campaign of parliamentary visits, which started in April and will continue until June 2013, was recently launched at the European Parliament in Brussels. The visits are part of the “Open Access Now” campaign launched by Migreurope and European Alternatives in October 2011. The campaign advocates for unconditional access to immigration facilities for civil society organisations and the media and demands transparency in the way these facilities operate. The campaign also encourages Members of Parliaments and other politicians to push for change of European and national laws in that domain.

During a roundtable, chaired by Green Party MP Helene Flautre, parliamentarians and representatives of organisations such as Reporters without Borders shared their experiences of visits to migration detention centres and witnessed about the difficulties to access these places. The APT presented a joint project with the Council of Europe, which will result in a guide for parliamentarians on visiting places of detention where irregular migrants and asylum seekers are held (to be published in October 2013). This Guide aims to encourage and assist parliamentarians to carry out detention visits. A first training was held in December 2011 on the key principles and methodology in visiting places of detention. A second training is planned for October this year.