Immigration Detention in Romania: With a Little Help from the EU

To pave the way for Romania’s entrance into the Schengen area, the EU has helped finance the county’s efforts to boost border controls and restrict how many people it lets in. Nevertheless, Romania’s treatment of refugees and migrants arguably compares favourably to that of its Visegrad neighbours, like Hungary. Observers point to a number of concerns about conditions in Romania’s immigration detention facilities, including their prison-like regimes, lack of mechanisms to identify vulnerable persons, inadequate medical services, and insufficient provision of legal assistance. […]

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Italy: Complicit in Grave Human Rights Abuse?

Immigration Detention in Italy (2019 Report): An important European destination for asylum seekers and migrants crossing the Mediterranean from Africa, Italy has been an aggressive proponent of draconian migration control practices, spurring accusations that the country has been complicit in grave human rights violations. During the tenure of notorious former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, Italy […]

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Cyprus: Reception Challenges in Europe’s New Gateway

Immigration Detention in Cyprus (2019 Report): Although the Republic of Cyprus is one of only a small number of EU member states that have yet to join the Schengen visa-free zone, the country is quickly becoming an important gateway for migrants and refugees as other routes into the EU have been blocked. With a small […]

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Ireland: Can You Detain “Better” Without Detaining More?

Immigration Detention in Ireland (2019 Report): Compared to other EU countries, Ireland does not detain large numbers of migrants and asylum seekers—typically less than a dozen people at any given moment. However, the country’s use of prisons and police stations for immigration purposes has spurred widespread criticism for years. Human rights watchdogs, including from the […]

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Immigration Detention in Portugal: Resettling Refugees, Detaining Asylum Seekers

Immigration Detention in Portugal (2019 Report): Unlike most EU states, Portugal has welcomed the arrival of refugees—even after the onset of the “refugee crisis” in 2015—and has announced several ambitious resettlement schemes. On the other hand, Portugal’s detention policies have been the subject of repeated criticism. Asylum seekers lodging applications at ports of entry are systematically […]

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Immigration Detention in Malta: “Betraying” European Values?

Immigration Detention in Malta (2019 Report): Malta’s heavy-handed response to irregular maritime arrivals—including refusing to allow rescue ships to dock and assisting Libyan authorities in intercepting asylum boats—has placed the country at the centre of a bitter EU-wide debate concerning search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean. This restrictive approach is also reflected in its detention […]

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Immigration Detention in Latvia: Giving “Accommodation” a Whole New Meaning

Immigration Detention in Latvia (2019 Report): Although Latvia does not experience significant migratory pressures, the number of immigration detainees and the average length of detention have steadily increased. In 2017, the country opened a second detention facility, misleadingly called an “accommodation centre.” The law provides for the detention of non-citizens for up to 10 days without […]

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Immigration Detention in Lithuania: Detention and Denial Amidst Extreme Population Decline

Immigration Detention in Lithuania (2019 Report): Asylum applications in Lithuania have decreased significantly in the last few years even as entry refusal rates at the country’s borders have skyrocketed, increasing by some 80 percent since 2013. The country’s restrictive asylum legislation, which provides for the detention of asylum seekers, has received criticism from several UN human […]

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Immigration Detention in Bulgaria: Fewer Migrants and Refugees, More Fences

Immigration Detention in Bulgaria (2019 Report): Although the number of irregular non-citizens apprehended in Bulgaria has plummeted in recent years, detention remains a key tool in the country’s response to migration and asylum flows. It has also spent some 85 million EUR to construct a fence along its border with Turkey. Bulgaria’s detention centres reportedly lack […]

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Immigration Detention in Croatia: Shrinking Space for Independent Monitoring

Immigration Detention in Croatia (2019 Report): Traditionally a transit country for people attempting to reach Western Europe, Croatia took on new importance for refugees and migrants in late 2015 when the main migrant route shifted through the country. Since then, the government has grown increasingly security-focused, albeit while maintaining a humanitarian narrative. Non-citizens may be […]

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