Obscurity and confinement for migrants in Europe

05 Jan 2008 | 243 words | border europe migration xenophobia policy

The International Herald Tribune has an excellent article by Caroline Brothers on the spread of detention camps for foreigners that have mushroomed across the European Union (and the neighboring African and Eastern European countries). The article draws from the impressive work done my migreurop (and even links to their excellent map of migrants dentetion camps in Europe).

“Detention is a very serious measure in a democratic society – governments deprive people of their liberty when they are convicted of a serious crime,” said Katrine Camilleri, a refugee lawyer in Malta with the Jesuit Refugee Service, which on Dec. 18 published a report on conditions in detention centers in the 10 newest EU states.

“These people have committed no crime, and though human rights law allows for detention in very specific cases, even then you can’t detain people forever. Even 18 months is a very long time; it destroys them,” said Camilleri, who has just been honored by the UN refugee agency for her work in the face of arson attacks on her car and home.

The smallest centers hold a few dozen people; the biggest, more than 1,000. A network of them has quietly taken form with little scrutiny and few established norms, sometimes reusing old sites, like Rivesaltes in the south of France, which was one of the biggest French internment camps for Jews during World War II.

Go read the entire article here. [thanks to Isabelle for alerting me to this].