The Council of Europe´s anti-torture committee (CPT) has published today a fact sheet compiling its standards on immigration detention, one of the issues where it has regularly found shortcomings during its visits to member states.
Foreign nationals may be deprived of their liberty following a violation or an alleged violation of the legislation related to aliens, such as illegal entry or illegal residence. Frequently, such detention is referred to as ‘immigration detention’, which is a form of administrative detention in most Council of Europe member states.
The text recalls that deprivation of liberty under aliens legislation should only be a measure of last resort, after a careful and individual examination of each case.
The CPT has carried out hundreds of visits to places of immigration detention, and has used its reports to develop a detailed set of standards. These standards build on legal principles originating from international human rights legal texts, such as the European Convention on Human Rights, the Committee of Ministers’ Twenty Guidelines on Forced Return, relevant United Nations treaties and the 2008 European Union Return Directive.
The standards contained in the fact sheet, which has been prepared by the CPT Secretariat, concern, in particular, detention as a last resort, safeguards during detention, suitable premises, adequate material conditions for longer stays (over 24 hours), open regime, qualified staff, procedures for discipline, segregation and means of restraint, effective monitoring and complaints mechanisms, adequate health care and care of vulnerable persons (in particular children).