Working together to end immigration detention

15 March 2024: PICUM: Working together to end immigration detention: A collection of noteworthy practices

Executive Summary
This briefing presents noteworthy practices at the national and European Union (EU) level related to safeguarding the rights of people in immigration detention and ultimately ending detention for migration purposes, by focusing on a wide range of actors spanning from civil society to national governments. It focuses on three advocacy objectives:

  1. raising the visibility of detention and its harms,
  2. ending the detention of children in the context of migration, and
  3. implementing community-based solutions that can ultimately prevent and contribute to ending detention.

The first chapter of the briefing explores civil society efforts aimed at unveiling what happens in immigration detention centres as well as the harmful impact of immigration detention itself. Ensuring that people in detention speak to the outside world and giving NGOs access to detention centres have been identified as the most important tools in this
regard. It is also contended that further research, as well as litigation and advocacy, related to the right to communicate is needed. NGOs in the Netherlands and the UK have set up hotline systems to establish contact with individuals in detention, most of whom do not have access to their mobile phones. In Italy, strategic litigation has challenged the state’s denial to grant NGOs access to detention facilities. Both activities – phone communication and civil society visits – can be seen as part of a wider advocacy strategy advocacy to end immigrant detention, as exemplified by the work of civil society coalitions and organisations in Belgium, Italy and the United Kingdom, among others.

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