Declaration of Commitment to Defend the Human Rights of Foreign Citizens and Asylum Seekers in Detention Centres in Portugal

17 May 2024|JRS Portugal

Public Safety Police, the Ombudsman's Office, the International Organization for Migration and Doctors of the World and JRS Portugal signed the declaration - Credit JRS Portugal
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On Monday, May 6, the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) Portugal, in collaboration with the Public Safety Police, the Ombudsman’s Office, the International Organization for Migration and Doctors of the World, pledged to defend the rights of foreign persons detained in Portugal, with special attention to improving conditions in temporary detention centres.

This commitment was formalized during an event at the Museu do Oriente, which marked the closure of the “Monitoring Detention” project, also known as Detention Under the Spotlight, funded by the OAK Foundation and led by JRS Europe since 2021. The main objective of this project, which compared detention conditions in 14 European countries, was to raise awareness of and advocate for the end of administrative detention of migrants.

Credit JRS Portugal

The signing of the “declaration of commitment to defend the human rights of foreign citizens and asylum seekers in detention centres in Portugal” represents a moral and ethical commitment by the five entities involved in achieving six main objectives. As part of the project, an initial report was also released that underlined the importance of collaboration between governments and JRS in visiting detention centres, mentioning the UHSA model as an example of good practice. As a result of this project, JRS Europe will disseminate materials based on the life histories and recommendations of the 14 countries.

André Costa Jorge, director general of JRS Portugal, believes that this commitment will contribute to the improvement of conditions in the various temporary detention centres, a process that has already been underway since the Public Safety Police took over the police functions of the Foreigners and Borders Service (SEF).

Credit JRS Portugal

The event, planned as part of the “Monitoring Detention” project, not only marked the dissemination of the results achieved but also sought to involve PSP agents and count on the contribution of organizations and entities that work in the Temporary Installation Centers (CIT) and in the Education and Custody Establishments for Immigrants (EECIT). We recognise the importance of these moments of sharing and joint reflection, as well as the need to make firm commitments to defend the human rights of foreign nationals and asylum seekers in these places of detention.

The event began with a speech by Dr. André Costa Jorge and a Focus Group on the support needs of foreign nationals detained at UHSA and EECIT. Those present were also honoured with the sharing of a testimony written by a citizen detained at UHSA in 2020 and with the face-to-face testimony of Ghalia Taki, who was detained at EECIT Lisboa in 2014. Subsequently, recommendations were made by JRS Portugal in the area of detention.

Credit JRS Portugal

The event concluded with final statements by representatives of the signatory organizations and the signing of the Declaration of Commitment to defend the Human Rights of detained foreign citizens.

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