Journal article

Health at risk in immigration detention facilities

19 Sep 2013

This article argues that immigration detention leads to unnecessary suffering and illness.

Since 2004 Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has provided medical and psychosocial support for asylum seekers and migrants held in different immigration detention facilities across Europe (in Greece, Malta, Italy and Belgium) where the life, health and human dignity of vulnerable people are being put at risk.

High-income countries have been adopting increasingly restrictive immigration policies and practices over the last decade, including the systematic detention of undocumented migrants and asylum seekers. Such policies are now implemented by middle- and low-income countries as well (e.g. Mauritania, Libya, South Africa, Turkey). In some cases detention facilities are actually financed by high-income neighbouring countries (e.g. Spain financing immigration detention facilities in Mauritania or the European Union financing immigration detention facilities in Turkey and Ukraine).

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