March 23, 2015

Some legal comments to the debate about the administrative detention of migrants in Greece

(Text in Italian follows)

The persistent practice among consecutive Greek governments to subject migrants and asylum-seekers, who enter or live in the Greek territory to systematic, indiscriminate and prolonged detention consistutes a flagrant violation of international, european and national law: administrative detention can only be used as an exceptional and last resort measure and only for the shortest time possible. Unfortunately, the Greek governments have thus treated it as the rule, rather than the exception. Over the past years, administrative detention has been Greece's main policy tool to deal with its migration and asylum issues.

This unsuccessful policy has caused the Greek authorities to infringe fundamental and inviolable detainee rights, to deny the right to international protection and to fulfill many other related international obligation; detainees are treated in an inhuman and degrading manner and are deprived of their liberty for prolonged periods of time without a fair trial. In 2015 alone, three migrants already lost their lives due to the deplorable conditions inside the detention centers and the sub-standard treatment they were subjected to. Others have been detained for around two years without ever having been convicted of a criminal offence.