“Everybody must hear us. Because people are suffering. Really, we are tortured: we cannot go out. In the big jail, people are getting crazy. We would really like you to come and see.”
Leyla, detained for 7 months in Sweden
Since its creation in 2002, Migreurop, a Euro-African network comprised of 42 organizations, claims for the right to know and publicize the reality of detention places for foreigners. In Europe and in its margins, the increase in the number of detention places and the processes to push the undesirable migrants aside participate in a wider political project: the so-called fortress Europe. Detention and deportation systems vary from one country to another. However, everywhere, migration management by imprisonment seems to be a common tendency of the recent migration policies, and affirms the arrival of a gouvernementalité based on a dual phenomenon: the criminalization of the migrant and its relegation. The European States, as well as the European Union, are elaborating strategies to control migration flows and fight against the migrants considered as illegal in order to define and close their borders. The imprisonment or concentration of migrants before their deportation are regarded as very efficient tools, and passing in a camp seems to be a common stage in the migrants’ journey, an ironic administrative step on the routes, sometimes repeated.Map of the camps
Migration causes, freedom of movement, human part in that mechanism are never taken into account.... Thoroughly, we think, we build and we improve the effectiveness of a deportation machine that draws a dark human geography: taken here, sent there, many migrants wander from a closed center to another waiting zone. Limits as borders are gradually extended, and accepted. In France, the construction of a new detention center for migrants has just been finished, in Mesnil Amelot, while a directive on the return of illegal immigrants adopted by the European Parliament in 2008 legalizes the detention of migrants for a period of 18 months. Other countries, such as Cyprus, Sweden, Holland, or the United Kingdom put migrants in jail for an unlimited period of time... length of detention
The conditions of such a migration policy are organized thoroughly: detention camps for foreigners are kept away from the attention of civil society. The latter does not know what happens there. The access for human rights defenders is limited, even nonexistent in many countries. And even when a legal framework guarantees access to camps for the civil society, in practice it remains excluded from the detention places. The silence eases abuses and rare echoes have already reported riots, hunger strikes, self inflected mutilations, suicide attempts, deceases.Access of NGOs
In this context, Migreurop claims for the right to know about the realities of detention camps: a right to information and a right to access. Since few facts are known about the daily life of these all-mighty institutions, this website aims to let the migrants voices go out by first-handed accounts from detention camps, asylum seekers centers, airport waiting zones in Europe and third countries. It also presents the different means of access of the civil society to those detention places and of collecting individual stories in different countries. This website gathers recordings, written interviews, radio programs and individual actions... The communication with the captive migrants, established by telephone, in visitor rooms, or after their release, conveys to free those voices telling, off the record, what they know about us, and what we ignore from them.