European Migration and Diversity

Rethinking detention in Europe - What are the alternatives?

20 April 2016

The current refugee crisis and the need to better manage the migrant flows to Europe has triggered a range of policy, legislative and operational responses from the EU. The implementation of new ‘emergency’ measures, like the establishment of so-called hotspots and the EU-Turkey agreement, have raised concerns about the use of detention when registering, relocating or returning people. The EU-Turkey agreement received significant criticism from human rights organisations, including the UNHCR and NGOs, for turning reception facilities into detention centres on the Greek islands. In light of this, it is vital to recall the EU and member states’ commitments to only use detention as a last resort, both for asylum seekers and migrants. At this Policy Dialogue, organised in cooperation with the Maastricht University and the International Detention Coalition (IDC), a panel of experts discussed the alternatives to detention around the world, and particularly in the EU, that could result in an more effective and humane system of irregular migration management.

In this programme


Programme Team

Head of Programme 'Migration and Diversity' & Senior Policy Analyst

Marie De Somer

Policy Analyst

Frank Mc Namara

Junior Policy Analyst

Katharina Bamberg

Programme Assistant

Marta Llonch

Senior Adviser to EPC on migration and mobility policies

Yves Pascouau