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Western Europe: New Restrictions, More Detainees

  • Izabella Majcher
  • Michael Flynn
  • Mariette Grange
Chapter
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Part of the European Studies of Population book series (ESPO, volume 22)

Abstract

Western European countries played a prominent role in the drafting and adoption of UN human rights treaties to expand and implement provisions in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Labelled “old democracies,” these countries also actively supported the creation of independent treaty monitoring bodies to review states’ efforts to respect and implement the provisions in these agreements. However, many of the countries included in this chapter have long been among the most important immigration detaining countries in Europe, including most notably France, which has the largest immigration detention system in continental Europe in addition to its extensive and very active immigration detention operations on its territories outre mer. Nearly all of these countries have also followed a similar course pre- and post-“crisis,” one that has been marked by declining or plateauing detention rates in the years leading up to 2015, followed by important increases both during and after the “crisis.” Their detention practices have been repeatedly scrutinised by the very UN human rights bodies they were instrumental in establishing. The treaty bodies have made numerous recommendations in recent years—for immigration detention to be used as a last resort and for as short a time as possible, for increased application of “alternatives to detention,” for ending the detention of children, for detainees to be protected from ill-treatment, for non-citizens to be protected from non-discrimination, among other recommendations—most of which appear to have gone unheeded. Arguably the most notable reforms to have been implemented during this period have been in Germany, which until recently was one of the only country’s in the European Union (EU) to make extensive—nearly exclusive—use of prisons for immigration detention purposes. However, this practice fell afoul of the Returns Directive, and a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union entailed that Germany implement reforms so that people in removal proceedings would be detained in specialised immigration detention centres. (See the 2014 CJEU judgement in Bero & Bouzalmate)

Keywords

Immigration detention EU migration and asylum policies Deportation and removal Asylum seekers Arbitrary detention 

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Izabella Majcher
    • 1
  • Michael Flynn
    • 1
  • Mariette Grange
    • 1
  1. 1.Global Detention ProjectGenevaSwitzerland

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