“Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants”
In August 2015 the Center for Legal Aid “Voice in Bulgaria” launched the project “Who gets detained? Increasing the transparency and accountability of Bulgaria’s detention practices of asylum seekers and migrants”, funded by the European Programme for Integration and Migration (EPIM) of the Network of European Foundations (NEF).
The main goal of the project is to increase the accountability and transparency of decision-making in the administrative detention of migrants in Bulgaria in closed-type centres. Bulgarian law allows the detention of migrants in certain circumstances, while giving a significant degree of discretion to officials to decide whether somebody should be detained. The findings from fieldwork, conducted by the Center for Legal Aid – “Voice in Bulgaria” for a previous project, as well monitoring reports by other organizations, suggest widespread practice of detention, including detention of asylum seekers, minors and members of vulnerable groups. The project “Who Gets Detained?” aims to help establish decision-making practices that are fair and transparent, in line with the principles of proportionality and individual assessment, required by international and European law.
As part of the project the CLA team will collect, analyse and publish statistics on the detention of migrants in Bulgaria, and will conduct a focused study of the case law to reveal the basis for detention decisions. We will also conduct interviews with persons currently in detention and with a history of detention (80 in total), and with key decision makers from the Ministry of the Interior (10-15 interviews). Lawyers from the Bulgarian Lawyers for Human Rights will provide free legal consultations to the detainees who need it. A dedicated web-based platform DETAINED will be developed, which will serve as a hub for collecting and exchanging information on migrant detention in Bulgaria and the region. Finally, a series of media articles, portraits of detainees, will be developed and published on major Bulgarian news websites.
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