Statewatch News Online: EU: European activist network publishes map of centres to detain foreigners

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EU: European activist network publishes map of centres to detain foreigners

Migreurop, which describes itself as a "collective initiative of militants" including individuals, NGOs and academics from different EU countries aimed at providing information, reflections, and undertaking activities about, and in opposition to, camps for foreigners in European states, migration and asylum policies, and new projects of "externalisation" - such as the setting up of camps for migrants and asylum seekers outside the EU. The methodolgy used in drawing up the map of "Camps for Foreigners in Europe and Mediterranean Countries" is based on a definition that allows the inclusion of a wide range of different types of establishments - "locations where migrants are detained and deprived of their freedom of movement". These include detention centres for migrants awaiting expulsion, "reception" centres for migrants and asylum seekers seeking admission, "open" centres for the identification of asylum seekers and the processing of their claims (a misnomer, as the processing of the application is often subject to them remaining in the centres), prisons and make-shift facilities used for detaining migrants, as well as camps located in countries neighbouring with the EU from where expulsions to their countries of origin are organised, and the map also identifies major informal gathering points for migrants seeking a route into the EU.

The introduction to the map highlights some common features of EU migrant detention establishments: 1) their occupants are non-EU nationals "who have committed no offence other than crossing or trying to cross a border without papers"; 2) "illegal migrants" are treated as a group, rather than as "individuals with a personal history"; 3) that "it seems impossible to ensure the respect of fundamental rights in these places", where "inhumane and degrading treatment is often perpetrated". Criticism is levelled at the camps as "the materialisation of a security approach to migration" and at plans to "externalise" or "subcontract" border control activities to third countries, with the EU "forcing the latter to cooperate in the fight against illegal migration".

"Camps for Foreigners in Europe and Mediterranean Countries", is available in: In English (pdf) and In French (pdf)

Filed 20.8.04

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