Immigration Detention in Slovenia: Where Detention is Called a “Limitation of Movement.”
As a key transit country for refugees and migrants travelling the “Balkan Route,” Slovenia witnessed a significant increase in the number of border crossings during the “refugee crisis.” Citing fears of a “humanitarian catastrophe,” the country tightened immigration controls, erected wire fencing along its border with Croatia, and introduced stringent new asylum legislation. Non-citizens have a mere three days to appeal their detention and they are obliged to pay the costs of their detention. Also, unaccompanied children and families are regularly placed in the country’s sole immigration detention centre and non-custodial alternatives to detention are rarely applied because few non-citizens are able to afford it.
Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry
In February 2019, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC) along with several partner organisations including the Global Detention Project launched the final report of their joint initiative, the Red Line Project, whose objective is to document and raise awareness of how EU states’ border procedures are increasingly used for the detention of asylum seekers in violation of existing legal obligations and fundamental rights. The final report, “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of Detention of Asylum Seekers upon Entry,” is comprised of field assessments made by partners in Italy, Greece, Hungary, and Bulgaria. The project employed the GDP’s online database, the Global Immigration Detention Observatory, to develop comprehensive data profiles on each country’s immigration detention system, which are included in the report. With support from ECRE and the GDP, the project liaised with institutions in Geneva and Brussels to bring attention to the report’s findings among key regional and international actors. The Red Line report was launched at an event hosted at Quaker House in Brussels on 6 February 2018, which included presentations by representatives from the GDP, HHC, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, the European Parliament, among others. Read the full report here.
The Global Governance of Migration: Spotlight on the International Organization for Migration
On 2 February 2019, GDP Senior Researcher Mariette Grange was invited to participate in an Expert Workshop on the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at the Refugee Studies Centre, Oxford. Her presentation, “IOM and Detention Practices,” unpacked the consequences of the IOM’s use of euphemistic language and its “norm-setting by stealth.” By engaging in immigration detention-related activities while remaining guarded about such work, the IOM helps states avoid accountability. “Research on immigration detention across IOM’s operations calls for scrutiny of discursive strategies, and the use of euphemisms and metaphors, some of which are coined by IOM, others by prominent supportive members states, such as the (in)famous ‘offshore processing centres,’” noted Grange. More information about the workshop is available here.
Putting the “Global Compacts” to Work
In February, the GDP participated in two events in Geneva examining the latest developments concerning the Global Compacts on migration and refugees. On 27 February, the GDP participated in a discussion with UNHCR organised by the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA) addressing indicators for the implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees. On 21 February, the GDP attended an “IOM-Civil Society Information Sharing Session” addressing the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration and the establishment of the UN Network on Migration.