Together with The Global Detention Project (GDP), we put together a joint statement to The European Council Committee of Prevention of Torture, in which we presented our remarks. This scripture is only a part of ongoing preparations for the Committee’s study visit in Poland. Poland is one of the eight countries, which the Committee is going to visit regarding the situation of persons deprived of liberty. The Committee’s last visit to Poland has accrued in 2017. The delegated personnel have visited detention centres for foreigners in Bialystokand Lesznowola. After the visit, the Committee has presented a series of recommendations, the implementation of which was the assessment of The Association of Legal Intervention and the GDP. On this legal basis and following the changes of Russia’s aggression on Ukraine this February, our Associations has drawn the Committee’s attention to the following issues.
The necessity of an urgent control of living conditions in detention centres
In August 2021 there has been a change of requirements regarding the assurance of people who are in detention centres to have even little space. In the time being the space is about 2 square meters per person, which is in direct violation of international human rights standards. This specific problem is contributing to an already existing problem of overload of the centres and its’ critical living adverse conditions
The inadequate quality of medical aid, access to education and legal help to people, including children, who stay in detention centres
Therefore, persons in detention must also be provided with adequate access to outdoor space and communication with the outside world, which are subject to restrictions at this time and have a significant impact on the psychophysical state of detainees.
Abuse of persons trapped at the Polish-Belarusian border
Since May 2021, the migration crisis on the Polish-Belarusian border has been growing. In 2021 more than 24 thousand people tried to cross the border. Thousands of people were left in the forest without shelter, medical assistance, food and drink, and at least 19 of them died in the winter. The services do not accept applications for international protection from these people and carry out push-backs, transporting refugees to the inter-border area. These actions are illegal, contrary to basic human rights and an affront to human dignity.
Discriminatory practices towards refugees of non-Ukrainian nationality
Since the beginning of the Russian aggression against Ukraine, refugees from third countries trying to escape the ongoing war face discrimination, illegal detention in detention centres, and even attacks by gangs operating in the vicinity of border crossings.
Despite the growing awareness that the detention of migrant children is a violation of their rights, the practice is still carried out in Poland without considering the individual situation and needs of children.
A detailed list of recommendations of the Association for Legal Intervention and the Global Detention Project can be found in the Joint Statement, which is available here.