22 May 2015

The Global Detention Project has published a briefing paper on the detention of asylum seekers in the Mediterranean region, highlighting the difficulties and challenging environments that many people face upon arrival in countries in North Africa and southern European states. The paper charts the widespread use of detention as a migration policy across eight countries that border the Mediterranean Sea, which has led to the deprivation of liberty of large numbers of asylum seekers and vulnerable groups, as well as exposure to conditions which the paper describes as ranging from suffering ‘serious shortcomings’, to being ‘horrific and inhumane’. 

Regarding the shortcomings in detention conditions found in Europe’s main asylum receiving countries (Greece, Italy, and Malta), the paper highlighted that other EU states have been forced to halt returns to these countries under the Dublin III Regulation following decisions in the European Court of Human Rights, and in national administrative courts that have found that the treatment of asylum seekers in those countries may not be in line with the European Convention on Human Rights.

The Global Detention Project’s paper underscores that in the North African states included in this report, European Union-driven policies have impacted the migratory phenomenon in the region, and in cases such as Libya, funding by European states has contributed to ‘damaging detention systems’, with multi-million-Euro ‘migration management’ projects that attempted to externalise European border control having led to mass expulsions and an increase in detention.


This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 22 May 2015. You can subscribe to the Weekly Bulletin here.