No to the Blanket of Silence Over Detention Spaces for Foreigners

As part of an international campaign for the observance of Human Rights, Solidariedade Imigrante will promote, tomorrow, January 30th, a visit to the Lisbon Airport CIT. The visit will be attended by Members of Parliament.

In the context of the campaign launched by the Migreurop network for the Right to observe the places of detention of foreigners, parliamentarians, nationals and Europeans, and association activists will carry out visits to centers located in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Belgium and France, between 30 January and 7 February 2009. In Mauritania, where an EU-funded detention center operates, an awareness-raising day will be organised. In Portugal, a visit will be promoted to the Temporary Installation Center at Lisbon Airport, which will be attended by Members of the Assembly of the Republic and the European Parliament and will take place tomorrow, between 14:00 and 16:00.

Under the umbrella of the directive adopted by the European Union, the return directive – which makes the generalization of the detention of foreigners official – the Italian authorities decided to extend the maximum period of detention of foreigners awaiting expulsion to 18 months. In mid-January, the Italian minister of the interior announced that he would transform the island of Lampedusa into a huge detention center where migrants who arrived on the coasts of southern Italy will be held, before being massively expelled through expedited procedures (may access the positions taken by civil society groups here ). On France, where there is a strong threat of restricting the conditions of access of associations to detention centres, there is a de facto reduction in the rights of migrants and tensions, fires, suicide attempts are multiplying (more information can be found be consulted here ).

In the name of the fight against irregular immigration, and with the false pretext of responding to the demands of public opinion, the detention of migrants in Europe is being systematized , within the framework of an extraordinary advance in European harmonization in the field of detention of migrants. In this context, a report by the European Parliament indicates concern about the multiplication of detention centers for foreigners in the Member States and on their borders and the frequent violations of human rights in these places, which have been increasingly denounced in recent years. This EP Report also advocates guaranteeing access to NGOs specialized in protecting the fundamental rights of migrants and asylum seekers and creating mechanisms for the supervision and inspection of these centres.

The centers for foreigners are the epicenter of multiple attacks on fundamental rights. Let us not let a mantle of silence fall over them. Associations, civil society and representatives of sovereign bodies have the right to know what is happening in them, thus contributing to the promotion of observance of Human Rights.

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