European Court Gives Greece Go-Ahead for Migrant Detention Centers



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Enclosed detention facilities for migrants and asylum seekers are not prohibited by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), its President said on Tuesday at a briefing in the Greek Parliament.

Court President Linos-Alexandre Sicilianos said that as long as the European Convention on Human Rights’s Article 5 is observed, every European nation has the right to utilize such camps.

Article 5 of the ECHR spells out the exact rights of detained persons and the procedures authorities must undertake to ensure these rights are upheld.

The judge was addressing the Special Permanent Committee on Equality, Youth and Human Rights and responding to the concerns of opposition deputies on the government’s plans to build enclosed migrant facilities on the islands.

As Sicilianos explained, “There is no issue of restriction on personal liberty if a person who is staying for a month at a closed detention center is allowed to leave and re-enter. Its operation is not prohibited.”

He further explained that the regulations for enclosed and open detention centers differ. For example, individuals in closed facilities “may take recourse to article 5, while those who are at open facilities may not do so.”

On Monday, the Greek government put a temporary hold on their announced plans to build enclosed migrant detention camps after it met strong opposition by local authorities in the Aegean islands.

The Greek government wants to replace the overflowing, open-air migrant camps on the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Leros and Kos with detention centers. It has already issued land appropriation orders for this purpose.