Immigration Detention in Slovakia: Punitive Conditions Paid for by the Detainees
Since the onset of the “refugee crisis,” Slovakia has pursued restrictive immigration policies and employed anti-migrant rhetoric, despite the fact that the country has not faced the same migratory pressures as its European neighbours. Rarely granting alternatives to detention due to strict eligibility criteria, non-citizens are held in facilities that observers have described as punitive in nature, and where detainees are required to pay for their own detention. Monitoring bodies have also raised concerns that the country’s legislation enshrines a presumption of majority in cases of age disputes, resulting in some unaccompanied children being held alongside unrelated adults as they await the results of bone analyses.
“Red Line”: The Rise in Detention of Asylum Seekers at the External Borders of the EU
Led by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee (HHC), the “Red Line” project is working to reduce unnecessary and unlawful use of detention as a deterrence measure for asylum-seekers and irregular migrants in Europe, with a particular focus upon four key irregular migrant entry states: Hungary, Bulgaria, Greece, and Italy. In many such countries, “reception” has morphed into “detention,” and the project thus seeks to emphasise the red line between these in international law via advocacy, strategic communications to EU and international bodies, and the development of civil society’s capacity to address these issues accurately. The GDP has assisted the Red Line partners in developing comparative data on each country’s immigration and asylum-related detention policies and advised partners on how to use the international human rights system to raise awareness of the project’s findings.
On 6 February, the GDP will be attending the project’s conference in Brussels, where the Red Line’s final report, “Crossing a Red Line: How EU Countries Undermine the Right to Liberty by Expanding the Use of De Facto Detention of Asylum Seekers on Their Borders,” will be launched. More information about the event is available here.