Briefing paper: Detention in the EU Migration and Asylum Pact proposals

European legislators should reject the Screening Regulation proposal and revise the amended Asylum Procedures Regulation proposal that were proposed as part of the European Union Pact on Migration and Asylum. These proposals would result in the prolonged detention of migrants and refugees, said the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) in a briefing paper released today.

“These proposals would result in impermissible detention of people not having committed any crime including those fleeing danger and seeking safety in the European Union in violation of international law, and would be especially cruel for children, who should not be detained at all,” said Karolína Babická, Legal Adviser at the ICJ.

The briefing paper published today comments on two proposals of the EU Pact, focusing on the impact of the new proposals on immigration detention and dep­rivation of liberty, providing recommendations to co-legislators in relation to the proposed EU Screening Regulation and the border procedures that would be established by the amended Asylum Procedures Regulation proposal.

If the proposals are adopted as proposed by the European Commission, prolonged immigration detention will inevitably result in practice, due to a lack of safeguards in the legislation. And there is a high risk of systematic detention at the border in breach of international human rights and refugee law.

In order to comply with international law obligations, detention during the screening and border procedures must only be used as a measure of last resort, applicable only in well-defined situations and based on a case-by-case assessment of the situation, while privileging alternatives to detention. Furthermore, children, as well as people in need of special procedural guarantees or with special reception needs, must not be detained.

The new EU Pact on Migration and Asylum developed by the European Commission was commu­nicated by the Commission to other EU institutions on 23 September 2020. The Pact proposes a set of new legislation and amends existing proposals. The proposed Regulations will be directly applicable in EU Member states when adopted.

See the full briefing paper here: Detention in the EU Pact proposals-briefing-2021-ENG