No deportation detention during the Corona pandemic
Moria on Lesbos became the epitome of Europe’s refugee situation as quickly as it disappeared from attention until the fire. But Europe’s borders remain sealed, the Mediterranean remains the world’s deadliest frontier, and refugees are still detained in camps under disastrous conditions. It is just not a simple “refugee situation” at Europe’s external borders, but an inhumane practice that continues in Germany.
Part of this cruel practice is deportation detention, where people are deprived of their liberty for months until they are deported. Detention pending deportation is – in the legal sense – not a punishment, but “only” a security measure intended to facilitate deportation. Nevertheless, the person concerned is placed in special deportation detention behind bars and meter-high concrete walls. The deportation itself not only means a lack of perspective, but is ultimately life-threatening.
Germany’s largest deportation detention center is located in Büren near Paderborn: a prison in which people are locked up for questionable reasons and the majority illegally – about half of the detention orders are unlawful. Did you know that, in the middle of the lockdown, from Jan. 1-Feb. 15, 2021, about 155 refugees were detained in Büren? While other businesses and public facilities are closing or massively shutting down due to the pandemic, the Büren deportation prison is filled to the brim with about 175 people.
Those affected there also repeatedly report mistreatment that violates human rights. Solitary confinement, for example, borders on torture. It is equally used there to sanction detained people or to “protect” detained, mentally ill people.The complaints of human rights violations, arbitrary forced treatment have no consequences. In rare cases, staff has been replaced, but structures remain untouched.
A number of refugees end up in detention, although they are traumatized and chronically ill. Urgently needed psychological care for them does not actually take place. The voluntary association Hilfe für Menschen in Abschiebehaft Büren e.V. (Help for People in Deportation Detention Büren) is confronted again and again with new “regulations” that impair the voluntary care offered.
We are concerned and appalled by the situation in the deportation detention center in Büren. In the midst of a worldwide pandemic, with everyday restrictions and the need to refrain from unnecessary travel, collective deportations are being carried out on a weekly basis.
Therefore, we demand the abolition of all deportation prisons!
As long as detention pending deportation is not abolished, we call on the state government:
- No detention of children and young people, physically or mentally ill people, parents of underage children, people over the age of 65, and people with disabilities.
- Medical and mental health care for all prisoners that meets nationally and internationally recognized treatment standards and leads to release from detention in case of doubt.
- An end to solitary confinement! An end to fixations!
- Stop deportations and suspend detention pending the end of the Corona pandemic.
- Extensive access of NGOs to detainees and in deportation detention centers: Strengthen volunteerism and reduce bureaucratic hurdles.
- The establishment of an independent complaints office that makes grievances public.