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Reporters Without Borders demands access to Europe's migrant detention centres

UPDATE: Appeal against denial of access to immigrant detention centres (RSF, 3 October 2012)

What do the insides of migrant detention centres look like, and what actually happens in them? Reporters Without Borders (RSF) has teamed up with migrant rights groups in the "Open Access" campaign, demanding that the right of access to Europe's detention centres be granted to journalists and civil society.

According to European Alternatives and Migreurop, together with a coalition of immigrants' rights groups that launched the campaign, journalists and civil society have very limited access to migrant detention centres in most EU countries. Often, it is impossible to meet with people in detention, or even to talk to them, unless you're a member of parliament.

"In some countries, such as Italy and Spain, they are forced to bypass official channels to investigate this matter of public interest. This is unworthy of democratic countries," said RSF.

The rights groups say that systematic detention of migrants has become a way of managing migrant fluxes in Europe. Roughly 600,000 people, including children, are detained without trial every year for administrative reasons.

"People can be trapped in these detention centres for up to 18 months before being expelled. The conditions of detention vary but are all characterised by deprivation of liberty and treatments which are often inhuman and degrading," says a statement in the Open Access video, below:

So far, five journalists from RSF applied for access to several detention centres in France's Ile-de-France region. RSF is asking journalists from other parts of Europe to do the same. If access is granted, visits should take place over the next month.

The campaign has been launched in 10 countries: Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Romania, Spain and the United Kingdom.

You can take part by signing a petition calling on EU governments and institutions to grant access to the centres.


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