An emigrant nation that saw millions of citizens leave in search of work after the demise of the Soviet Union, Romania has recently begun to contend with immigration. As part of its accession to the European Union, the country remodeled its migration policy, aligning it with the EU acquis and incorporating provisions for the removal and detention of irregular non-citizens. Now a key EU border country, Romania has received technical and financial support from the European Commission (EC) to strengthen its administrative detention capacity, including by establishing secure transit centres for processing asylum seekers.
Detention Profile: Slovenia
Located on Europe’s south-eastern frontier, Slovenia is both a transit and destination country within the European Union. The majority of asylum seekers and irregular migrants in Slovenia come from Turkey and the Balkans. Until 2006, Slovenia operated several detention centres. In recent years, hardening border controls have meant that fewer people enter the country irregularly, which has contributed to a decreasing detainee population. Developments in Slovenian detention infrastructure and policy have also reflected harmonisation with the policies of the EU, of which Slovenia became a member in 2004.
Detention Profile: Hungary
Like other European Union border countries, Hungary’s immigration and detention policies have been heavily influenced by EU integration. Hungary has become a key transit country for migrants attempting to reach Western Europe, and the country’s discourse on immigration is often dominated by security concerns. Revised immigration laws introduced in 2007 were meant to simplify detention procedures and reduce time limits on detention. However, while human rights groups have lauded these changes, they remain concerned about a number of issues, including the continuing practice of prolonged detention, the prison-like conditions at centres, and the lack of access to psychological and psychiatric care for detainees.
Detention Profile: Luxembourg
One of Europe’s smallest countries with a population of just over half a million, Luxembourg has historically welcomed migrant labour, which has played an important role in the country’s prosperous economic development. However, in the face of large influxes of asylum seekers in the wake of the Balkan conflicts, the country’s attitude towards foreigners began to sour. The government implemented its first asylum legislation in 1996 and established its first immigration detention unit in 2002. Other GDP News
The “Oxford Immigration Detention Workshop,” held at University of Oxford on 21 May 2010, included a presentation by the Global Detention Project entitled “Immigration Detention and the Aesthetics of Incarceration.”
Christina Fialho, a J.D. candidate at the Santa Clara University School of Law, has received a Public Interest and Social Justice Law Board grant to undertake an internship during Summer 2010 at the Global Detention Project researching international norms relevant to migration-related detention.
Michael Flynn, the GDP’s lead researcher, gave a presentation on the “The Global Detention Project” at the University of Texas at Austin on 19 April 2010.
“The modern prison is assigned the task of administering its inmates’ lives to foster ‘docile and useful bodies.’ … The immigration detention center, by contrast, is a pre-modern prison–nothing more than a site for the punishment and permanent removal of ‘wasted’ bodies.”
From Shahram Khasravi, ‘Illegal’ Traveller: An Ethnography of Border (Palgrave 2010).