Open Access Campaign of parliamentary visits 2013

The campaign of parliamentary visits to migrant detention sites was launched on 24 April 2013 at the European Parliament

Over three months, members of European and national parliaments took action, asserting their right – guaranteed by law – to visit detention sites, in order to strengthen citizen surveillance of these structures, to underline the need for transparency and to give greater visibility to problems related to the detention of migrants. These visits aimed to encourage reform of national and European laws to increase respect for human rights.

The visits were organised with representatives of civil society, NGOs and the media, in support of the demands of the campaign “Open Access Now”, launched by the networks Migreurop and European Alternatives.

Visits were made to a total of 21 places of detention, in Belgium, Cyprus, Spain, France, Italy and Lebanon.

For the past 20 years, detention of migrants and asylum seekers has been steadily increasing within the European Union (EU) and at its southern and eastern borders. Between 2000 and 2012, the number of detention sites identified by Migreurop in EU countries and at the borders of the Union grew from 324 to 473

See the fifth edition of the Migreurop Encampment Map, 2012 [available online] . Each year, almost 600,000 migrants are detained on EU territory with the aim of “managing migration”.

In anticipation of the publication of a report by the European Commission evaluating the implementation of the “Return” Directive (Directive 2008/115/CE), expected at the end of 2013, this new campaign of visits shows that detention conditions of these populations labelled “undesirable” still fail to respect fundamental human rights. The campaign also reveals that the effectiveness of recourse to detention, in terms of the objectives announced, is open to question, although it is presented as a key tool for migration management.

These detention sites, where migrants are held on the sole basis that they did not respect rules on entry and stay, are administrative detention sites and not prisons. Yet, although they do not have the label, they very often resemble prisons.

The almost impenetrable nature of these sites, often surrounded by barbed wire, makes access difficult for civil society, journalists and families of detained persons, leaving them alone in their distress. Although some progress has been noted, obstacles to the citizen awareness, promoted by our campaign, persist.

The campaign “Open Access Now” continues to mobilise against the opacity of these places which remain particular sites of human rights violations, despite the fact that these rights are guaranteed by international instruments ratified by the majority of the countries concerned.

You will find attached an analysis of the main findings of the campaign, as well as the summaries of the visits in each country.

See press statements “Open Access”:

Sign the appeal:




Visits Report: Visits to places of migrant’s detention are instruments of Open Access campaign. These visits are conducted by journalists, civil society organizations and members of Parliament.
The objective of the visit is twofold:

Test the reality of access: Is it possible to speak with detainees ? Can one have a clear overview of the conditions of detention and report them ?

Gather information on detention centres around Europe.

For more information on the organization of visits, download the “Campaign Kit” available in 4 languages ​​(Tools section of the site OpenAccess).

Here you can dowload the last report of the campaigns (24 april – 31 june 2013) of parliamentary visits organised in the framework of Open Access Now: 



Rapports de visites : Les visites dans les lieux d’enfermement des migrants sont un des instruments de la campagne Open Access. Elles sont effectuées par des journalistes, des organisations de la société civile et des parlementaires.
L’objectif des visites est double:

Tester l’effectivité du droit d’accès: est-il possible de parler avec les détenus? Peut-on avoir une véritable vue d’ensemble des conditions de détention et en rapporter?

Compiler les informations des pays d’Europe et du monde

Pour plus d’information sur l’organisation des visites, télécharger le “Kit de campagne”disponible en 4 langues (rubrique Outils du site OpenAccess).

Vous pouvez télécharger ici le dernier rapport (24 avril – 31 juin 2013) des campagnes de visites parlementaires organisées dans le cadre d’Open Access Now:


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