Asylum detention in Europe: State of Play and Ways Forward (Jacques Delors Institute)
In the wake of the refugee crisis and in reaction to terrorist attacks, European governments are seeking tighter control over the whereabouts of migrants and refugees. This policy paper sheds light on EU rules regulating the detention of applicants for international protection, how they are currently implemented by Member States, and the ongoing reform process.
This paper, issued by the Jacques Delors Institute, identifies five main principles in EU legislation that regulate detention:
1. Detention is an exception that must be justified;
2. Detention should not be punitive;
3. Less coercive alternatives measures should be examined before resorting to detention;
4. There should be procedural guarantees to protect the fundamental rights of applicants;
5. Adequate protection for vulnerable applicants should be in place.
It then assesses the level of compliance of each member state with these principles.
The author argues that although harmonization has established legal provisions binding member states to fairly high standards, detention continues to be entrenched in national practice for the purpose of Dublin transfers, return and border procedures, and much remains to be done to guarantee the fundamental rights of applicants in practice.