announcement for the 20th of april 1997 on a hearing on the custody of foreigners

report part 1 on the hearing about the detention of foreigners

report part 2 on the hearing about the detention of foreigners

This is an announcement for the 20th of april 1997


In cooperation with the political cultural centre 'De Balie' the Autonomous Centre will organize a hearing on the custody of immigrants and illegals on Sunday 20th of april 1997 in 'De Balie', Amsterdam-: a former prison.

We want to lodge a complaint against public imprisonment of immigrants and illegals. The policy in the EU results in more and more prisons for immigrants and illegals. People are taken into custody while entering countries (border-, airport-,and transitprisons), more often during procedures and when they ultimately are here 'without residence permit'. These kinds of imprisonments do not have a limitation in time: it is administrative detention, without any form of process, with only one legal moment of reference.
Existing critique originating from different viewpoints of scientists, criminal- and immigration-lawyers, human-rights activists, visiting-groups and others involved could be strengthened by more cooperation.
We hope that the hearing on the 20th of april will have a follow- up.

The hearing is divided into three themes:

1.- the comparison between custody in criminal law and immigration law. Within the latter it is argued more and more that one is 'a problem for the law and order'. The approach is as if towards a 'convicted', the stigma that of a 'criminal', the position of their legal rights is less than those of criminal prisoners. If there is suspicion of committing a criminal offence, one is not treated according to the criminal law, but one 'disappears' into costody of immigrants. Here the immigration law is misused as criminal justice. Internationally speaking immigration policy, anti-terrorism and anti-drugs policy are mixed up.

2.- deprivation of freedom as violation of human rights within a democracy. Freedom is a basic right, as well as equality of all citizens. Should a division of a society into those with and those without rights, not be prevented? 'Immigrants' are not treated equally to other citizens in equal circumstances, as it should be according to article I of the constitution. An example: a small infringement of the traffic-rules, as crossing somewhere else as on a zebra-crossing, is used towards immigrants to lock them up.

3.- the daily practise of prisons for 'custody of aliens', with the emphasis on 'laborious detention', isolation-cells and their closed character with all effects following for those in detention and their families or other visitors. Illegals and other immigrants are not allowed to work. In prisons they are meant to work, underpayed work of which the Dutch society is profiting. Isolation in many ways is applied as means of repression, often on the slightest occasion as "verbal agression", or with resistance such as a hungerstrike.