As a result of its observations made during various monitoring visits, the CPT warns of the increasing number of cases of ill-treatment of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty under immigration legislation.
“Foreign nationals detained under immigration legislation are often held – and sometimes for protracted periods – in conditions of detention which could be described as amounting to inhuman and degrading treatment. The pushback of foreign nationals across borders, including their diversion at sea, without effective access to means of protection, gives the CPT real cause for concern and the Committee calls upon all Council of Europe member states to fully respect the provisions of international law, including the prevention of torture and inhuman or degrading treatment”, said the CPT President.
Indeed, according to the findings of the CPT, illegal pushback practices are regularly carried out in the context of forced removals and under deplorable conditions at the land and sea borders of several Council of Europe member states. All too often, the Committee has met with many foreign nationals who have given credible allegations of deliberate physical ill-treatment by police and border guards, which have been supported by the findings of the delegation’s medical doctors, particularly at the external borders of the European Union. Their allegations also concern removal to another country without prior examination of their individual situations and without sufficient safeguards in place to ensure that they are not sent back to a country where they run a real risk of ill-treatment.
In its annual report, the CPT recalls the imperative to adopt a human rights-based approach in all activities related to border control and in dealing with mixed-migratory arrivals. It also details a series of preventive measures aimed at improving the treatment of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty at borders, including the strengthening of safeguards against refoulement and ill-treatment, and the establishment of independent monitoring mechanisms.
Consequently, based on its preventive mandate under the European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the CPT calls upon all member states of the Council of Europe to act, both individually and collectively, to put an end to such practices of the illegal pushback of foreign nationals deprived of their liberty at borders.