Global Detention Project: EU continues to fund immigration detention in Ukraine

by zoejardiniere

11.01.2013 The Global Detention Project has updated its detention profile for Ukraine, highlighting the scale of EU funding that has been dedicated to increasing border control and detention capacity in the country. In 2011, 30 million Euros were allocated to build nine new detention centres in Ukraine in order to, according to the EU delegation to Ukraine, “enable” the application of the EU-Ukraine readmission agreement by providing detention space for “readmitted” migrants sent back to Ukraine from EU countries.

Asylum seekers, including unaccompanied children, are routinely detained in Ukraine, and UNHCR has expressed concern that this practice is on the increase. While the maximum length of detention, according to the law, is 12 months, there have been reports of migrants being re-arrested after their release and once again detained for the maximum timespan. Ukraine, which received a total of 3,622 asylum applications in 2011, detained 10,922 individuals for immigration purposes in the same year. According to the Global Detention Project, there were 13 immigration detention centres in the country in late 2012.

A Ukrainian parliamentary body has argued that the country has too much detention capacity, with two guards for every detainee. Conditions in these detention centres have improved since 2009, but remain variable, with reports of extortion and mistreatment including beatings and electric shocks. Concerns over access to legal aid, medical care and interpreters remain, and migrants rights organisations face challenges in accessing detainees.

For further information:

–         Human Rights Watch, Buffeted in the Borderland: the treatment of migrants and asylum seekers in the Ukraine, 2010

–         Law of Ukraine on Refugees and Persons in Need of Complementary or Temporary Protection, 8 July 2011

–         ECRE Weekly Bulletin, Interview with Leila Zhdanova, Ukrainian Refugee Council, 4 May 2012