Italy Detention Profile
No other country in Europe was impacted as dramatically by the “Arab Spring” as Italy, which saw tens of thousands of North African migrants arrive at its shores. The country’s response to the situation–which included claiming a state of emergency, “pushing back” migrants interdicted at sea, and boosting detention operations–became the focus of international attention, drawing rebuke from numerous human rights and humanitarian agencies. The country’s detention and deportation practices have has also been at the centre of several recent ground-breaking legal cases at the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights. Notwithstanding the growing polemic over its treatment of migrants, Italy continues to pursue a number of controversial practices, including confining non-citizens in border facilities that do not appear to be recognized in Italian law, signing new agreements with Libya to “curtail” migration, and allegedly deporting people to Greece before they are able to apply for asylum.
Ukraine Detention Profile
Although Ukraine has seen a steady decrease in the numbers of arriving and transiting migrants in recent years, EU policymakers remain fixated on the country as a stepping stone into Europe. A case in point is the enormous sums of money Europe has spent to boost its detention capacity. In 2011, 30 million Euros were allocated to build nine new detention centres in Ukraine, reportedly with the aim of locking up “readmitted” migrants sent by EU countries. However, even Ukraine’s Accounting Chamber, a parliamentary body that oversees the use of the national budget, has contended that the country’s existing migrant detention capacity exceeds its needs, pointing out that there are two guards for every detainee. Complementing Ukraine’s growing detention infrastructure have been a slate of new laws aimed in part at regulating the treatment of non-citizens in the country, including the adoption of new immigration legislation in 2011. Some observers have pointed to detention-related gaps in the new law, including its failure to prohibit the common practice of re-arresting migrants upon release and detaining them again for the maximum period allowed.
• Conference presentation: On 7 December, Michael Flynn, coordinator of the Global Detention Project, gave a paper at the30th Anniversary Conference of the Refugee Studies Center of the University of Oxford. The paper was entitled “Liberty v. Security: How the Promotion of Fundamental Rights Can Encourage the Expansion of Immigration Detention.”
• Workshop: The Global Detention Project co-organized with the Mekong Migration Network a workshop on immigration detention at the 9th Asia-Europe People’s Forum in Vientiane, Laos, which took place during 16-19 October. As part of the panel, Michael Flynn gave a presentation titled “Immigration Detention in Europe: Lessons for Asia.”
• Public lecture: On 27 September, Mariette Grange, senior researcher at the Global Detention Project, gave a presentation at a public forum at the University of Geneva called ” Les migrations: une question de genre?” Her paper was titled “Quand la minorité impose sa loi à la majorité: paradoxes de la migration masculine dans les pays du Golfe Persique.”
• GDP on NPR: On 28 August, “Worldview,” a program on U.S. National Public Radio, aired an interview with Michael Flynn discussing trends in global immigration detention practices. The interview can be accessed here.