The aim of EPIM’s sub-fund on immigration detention is to ensure that, in policy and practice, the use of detention is reduced to when it is legitimate, proportionate and necessary and, based on individual assessment, as an exceptional measure of last resort.
To contribute to a respective change, EPIM provides support to civil society organisations to:
- Increase transparency and accountability of detention policy and practice across Europe in the context of an EU policy framework that threatens to increase the grounds for and use of immigration detention, in diverse forms and for a wide group of asylum seekers and migrants;
- Promote alternatives to detention, and regularisation for undocumented migrants who are particularly vulnerable in systems under pressure to reduce the scope of protection and the number of people permitted to stay in Europe.
A pilot phase of the sub-fund on immigration detention was carried out in 2015 and 2016 supporting nine civil society projects in the focus countries Cyprus, Bulgaria and Greece. While EPIM grantees’ work in those focus countries have shown promising results that we hope to build on, the review highlighted that linkages from national to sub-regional and/or Pan-European work and to EU policy agendas are more important but also more challenging as political pressure to control migration and the re-nationalisation of these measures increase across Europe.
There are many reasons to believe that the large-scale use of detention across Europe will grow over the next few years, both in the external border countries and within the EU. Hence, EPIM’s sub-fund will address the following challenges in particular:
- Blurred boundary between detention and reception and increased control and punishment in European migration and asylum policy; and
- Lack of alternative measures to detention and marginalisation of undocumented migrants or migrants without protection status.