A “better custody” won’t make human rights violations any better!

On May 17th, Saxon Parliament will decide upon the Law on the Enforcement of Custody for the Purpose of Deportation. The coalition of CDU and SPD proposed a change of law, trying to make custody “better” (Drs. 6/6352). Some demands of our appeal, that we published with many other signatories, are included. Almost all critical points of Jesuiten-Flüchtlingsdienst are not to be found (statement here, provided for publication). Because of that and out of the following reasons we and others call for protest in front of Saxon State Parliament on May 17th.

  • Sent ahead: Custody and detention of people who have not committed any crime make sick. In no way we see a necessity for a custody center. The state government does not have to apply the federal law. The objective, to produce high deportation numbers, was reached in 2016 already. In that year, Saxony doubled the number of deportees with 3.377 in comparision to 2015 with 1.725 human beings deported.
  • The proposed change of law claims that particular attention will be paid to the situation and needs of people in need of protection”. There is no definition of what that is supposed to be. People of particular vulnerability, as well as all other people who seek protection, should not find themselves in detentionlike situations. That should be self-explaining.
  • Of course it needs to be appreciated that families and unaccompanied minors will be in separate custody from other people who are obliged to leave the country. But the same needs to be said here: families and minors in custody? This simply cannot be.
  • An advisory board will be established. Two members of parliament, one of a coalition, one of an opposition faction, Saxon Deputy for Foreigners’ Issues, two representatives of one “aid organisation and one “migrants’ organisation”  as well as one representastive of the ministry of the interior will belong to the board. The board’s members are supposed to be informed about accomodation, employment, catering as well as medical care. They have the right to visit the facility. On the one side, the “Blackbox Custody”, that we see coming, is brightened, on the other side, custody is supposed to appear as legitimate. The government still needs to tell what it understands by “aid and migrants’ organisations”. Our demand is: an unrestricted right of the people in custody to receive visitors that applies to lawyers and NGO-employees too. Then, people in custody may transmit their critique directly. Only, a right to receive visitors cannot be found, neither in the law, nor in the purposed change of law.
  • As before, a general reference to the Penal Procedure Code is written in the law. There was a reason for the European Court of Justice to demand that offenders and refugees are supposed to be taken in custody separately. The general reference to the Penal Procedure Code will not satisfy that obligation. Besides that, Jesuiten-Flüchtlingsdienst voiced that the Administration Courts, controling the enforcement of custody, are not prepared for the Penal Procedure Code.
  • There will not be any psychotherapeutic, psychosocial nor social care.
  • Administration of Justice won’t be present in the custody facility. If a right to receive visitors is not established, this would have been the minimum to ensure that refugees are able to make use of their rights.
  • The custody should have been defined as ultima ratio, according to Jesuiten-Flüchtlingsdienst. This is what EU return directive demands.
  • Furthermore, Jesuiten Flüchtlingsdienst went through the timetable of Dresden airport: the winter flight schedule records almost no destinations beyond Europe. The according paragraph, regulating custody, demands the facility to be in the transit zone of an airport or at a place, where one can easily depart from. Scheduled flights cannot be used in Dresden. Only collective flights can be used to enforce deportation.
  • Custody will cost three million Euro. But as it was described: from the government’s perspective, deporting goes excellent. There is no need for custody to produce higher deportation numbers. It is part of the election campaign, serving the governing parties to meet the demands of the political opponent from the far right edge. In a completely unnecessary way, the budget is burdened. But first and foremost, custody is only one thing: it is inhumane.

The supporters of that call are:

Afghanische Kulturgruppe Dresden
AG Asylsuchende Sächsische Schweiz Osterzgebirge e.V.
AKuBiZ e.V. Pirna
Arbeitskreis Ausländer und Asyl Freiberg e.V.
Asylum Seekers’ Movement
Ausländerbeauftragter der Evangelisch-Lutherischen Landeskirche Sachsens
Bon Courage e.V.
Gefangenen Gewerkschaft / Bundesweite Organisation
Initiativkreis Menschen.Würdig e.V.
Kontakgruppe Asyl e.V. Dresden
Linksjugend [‘solid] Dresden
Netzwerk Asyl, Migration, Flucht Dresden
Non-Citizen Council
Peperoncini e.V.
Refugee Law Clinic Leipzig e.V.
Romano Sumnal e.V.
Rote Hilfe e.V.
Sächsischer Flüchtlingsrat e.V.
Zendegi (Leben) – Keine Abschiebungen nach Afghanistan