Located at a key juncture between East and West–and within a land and maritime border that extends nearly 10,000 kilometres–Turkey has become a turnstile for migrants from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East seeking passage to Europe. A candidate for membership in the European Union (EU), Turkey is under pressure to improve its human rights record and at the same time interdict irregular migrants and asylum seekers. The country has taken a number of steps in recent years to fortify its detention infrastructure and tighten its borders with substantial financial and technical support from the EU. Observers have repeatedly denounced the abusive and unsanitary conditions in Turkish detention facilities, which according to the European Court of Human Rights operate without adequate legal authority.
Detention Profile: Estonia
Two key historical developments have been instrumental in shaping Estonian immigration detention practices–the break up of the Soviet Union and Estonia’s accession to the European Union (EU). The country’s main sources of immigration are member states of the Commonwealth of Independent States, and its immigration policies have been heavily influenced by the EU harmonisation process. When Estonia joined the Schengen area in 2007, authorities worried that the country would experience significant increases in both regular and irregular migration. These fears have thus far proved unwarranted.
Detention Profile: Denmark
Irregular migrants are generally detained in Denmark only when alternatives to detention are deemed insufficient to ensure enforcement of immigration decisions. Anti-immigrant sentiment directed at the country’s Muslim community has spurred a political backlash on immigration, which has helped lead to hardening immigration laws. A 2008 amendment to the Aliens Act, for example, provides for the prosecution of non-deportable irregular non-citizens who refuse to reside at assigned accommodation centres. Denmark detains few people; however, independent observers have criticized the prison-like conditions of the country’s sole dedicated immigration detention facility and its policy of indefinite detention.