NGOs Raise Concerns Over COE Rules For Administrative Detention Of Migrants

The important task of codifying existing international standards has been entrusted by CDCJ to a Committee of experts established under its authority: the Committee of experts on administrative detention of migrants (CJ-DAM).

The elaboration of the draft codifying instrument started in May 2016 and is expected to be completed in 2018.

Over 30 national, regional and international civil society organisations submitted a joint statement, to the European Committee on Legal Co-operation (CDCJ) who is carrying out a codifying exercise on a detailed set of immigration detention rules based on existing international and regional human rights standards relating to the conditions of detention of migrants.

IDC Members and partners expressed their collective concern that, “A Fundamentally Different Approach is Needed” to the immigration detention of migrants in Europe.

The statement was presented during a consultation with key civil society stakeholders from 22-23 June 2017 at the Council of Europe Headquarters in Strasbourg. We welcome you to share this joint statement among your networks.

After the consultation, the IDC and the International Commission of Jurists  have presented their joint observations on the draft European rules for the administrative detention of migrants.
In their submissions, the two human rights organisations noted that the current detention practices in most Council of Europe member States raise serious questions as to their compatibility with human rights law.

They stressed that, under international human rights law, immigration detention must always be an exceptional measure of last resort in full respect of the norms of necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination.

The ICJ and IDC expressed concern that the current draft document fails to adequately distinguish between criminal and administrative immigration detention regimes.

In doing so, the document risks normalising unlawful detention practices and codifying prison standards that are wholly inappropriate in the context of migration.

The two organisations submitted that, as a general rule, persons in situations of particular vulnerability should never be detained merely for the purposes of enforcing immigration control.

Finally they called on the drafting Committee to prioritise alternatives to detention.

If you have questions about these European Rules or would like to learn more, please contact: [email protected]