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Locking up the detention centre 1. What I’ll talk about How JRS views alternatives to detention (ATD) A proposal for how you might think about ATDs What.

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Presentation on theme: "Locking up the detention centre 1. What I’ll talk about How JRS views alternatives to detention (ATD) A proposal for how you might think about ATDs What."— Presentation transcript:

1 Locking up the detention centre 1

2 What I’ll talk about How JRS views alternatives to detention (ATD) A proposal for how you might think about ATDs What ingredients does a good ATD call for? Why do we European NGOs need to work on ATDs? 2

3 First, a question: What elements make for a good alternative to detention? 3

4 What elements do you think make for a good ATD? 4

5 ATDs: A recipe with many ingredients 5 ATDs as a means to an end, and not an end itself. A means to which end? A transparent & fair outcome to a person’s case A dignified and humane immigration procedure A scenario in which detention is hardly used… …because gov’ts decide more often to not detain

6 How do you define ATDs? 6

7 How does JRS define ATDs? Any policy, practice or legislation that allows asylum seekers and migrants to live in the community with freedom of movement, in respect of their right to liberty and security of person, while they undertake to resolve their migration status and/or while awaiting removal from the territory. 7

8 Why does JRS define ATDs so broadly? At critical points in a person’s immigration procedure, we want governments to decide not to detain. To have this, we see the need for flexibility on deciding how not to detain. 8 This is the heart of our views on ATDs

9 The heart of JRS’s view on ATDs ATDs are a decision, and not only an outcome. The ATD is the point in which the state authority faces the decision whether to detain an individual or not. Scenario: State authority comes into contact with an asylum seeker, or an irregular migrant, and decides: o “No, we won’t detain; the person will live independently in the community.” o “No, we won’t detain; but the person has to check-in once a week” o “No, we won’t detain; but the person needs to be with a case manager.” The starting point for any decision to not detain should be the person’s liberty & security of person; in other words, no restriction. 9

10 State authorities should be screening and assessing each individual to determine the best kind of ATD. Most cases, people can live independently. But there will be cases in which conditions need to be attached. These must be a result of rigourous screening and assessment. 10 Why does JRS define ATDs so broadly?

11 ‘Good elements’ for ATDs, in JRS’s view Decent living conditions Comprehensive support Regular, up-to-date, information Qualified legal assistance Focus on all possible outcomes Frontloading support 11

12 Another question: What are your organisational views on ATDs in Europe? 12

13 Organisational views on ATDs in Europe 13

14 There are a range of views on ATDs in Europe. None of them are wrong. 14

15 NGO variety is a good thing. We need NGOs who … o Are emboldened and strong speaking o Prefer working closely with governments o Are close to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants o Have experience and expertise with service provision o Know how to give legal aid o Know how to do research 15 Just because there are different views on ATDs, doesn’t mean we can’t work together to achieve a common goal: To make detention so unnecessary, so hardly used that it truly becomes an exception. To make detention extinct as a government practice.

16 We need to work together on ATDs, right now. Why the hurry? 16

17 The ATD ‘window of opportunity’ 17

18 ATD language in EU law: strikingly similar “Individual assessment” “Individual case” / “specific case” “Less coercive measures” ATDs must “respect fundamental rights” “Laid down in national law” 18

19 Where we as NGOs come in 19 Conduct a good individual assessment NGOs have particular expertise that can be used towards governments for the following: Identify good less coercive alternative measures Make sure ATDs are in law & implemented Ensure ATDs respect fundamental rights Screen individual and specific cases

20 20 If we don’t work actively to achieve the best scenario for ATDs, we will have missed an opportunity to reduce detention in Europe over the next years.

21 To work together, we’ll need different tactics. Which ones? Generate noise to get governments’ & publics’ attention Technical planning and strategy development Service provision methods Monitoring fundamental rights To be close to refugees, migrants, asylum seekers Close connections to decision makers Coordinators, people and organisations who can bring it all together 21

22 22 Let’s take the time we have to start off on this track! Thank you for listening! Jesuit Refugee Service Europe


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