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4 juillet 2012 3 04 /07 /juillet /2012 12:45

The Open Access campaign ask for the openning of the detention centres to the civil society as a guaranty to the right to know what happens inside, and a way to support the rights of the persons locked up inside http://www.openaccessnow.eu/


From the Open Access first report :



Serbia – Visit to the district of the Subotica Prison (Okružni zatvor Subotica) the 25th of April 2012

Composition of the delegation: Two representatives of the Regional Minority Centre (organisation) and Philippe Bertinchamps (Courriers des Balkans) to whom access was denied

In Serbia, the Regional Centre for Minorities (RCM) and a journalist filed requests to visit two foreigner internment centres. For the Padinska Skela expulsion centre (Prihvatilište za strance), all requests for access were refused. As for the prison of Okruzni Zatvor in Subotica, the Justice Minister at first required further information from the RCM (its social objective, the reasons for the visit, and the passports of non-resident visitors). Once this information had been transmitted, a visiting authorisation was granted to the two representatives of the association, but access was denied to the

This act of granting access needs to be put in perspective: the visit was limited to the administrative premises and was authorised neither for the cells nor for the shared spaces in which detainees are confined. The RCM delegation was not able to meet with any detainee, and was essentially in contact only with the director, the lawyer and the doctor of the prison. Until this very day, not one civil society organisation has taken the initiative to inquire into the treatment of detained migrants.

Due to the escalation of border controls coupled with the signature of a readmission agreement with Serbia and Hungary, the city of Subotica was forced to deal with an elevated number of people blocked at the frontiers. Thus, though the detention of foreigners is not by any means the original function of the Subotica prison, the proportion of migrants amongst its population has grown significantly over the past three years. As the carceral population has reached critical thresholds, the conditions of detention have become particularly indecent. In order to deal with the increases in the
number of detained foreigners, mattresses were put everywhere that it was possible to do so (in the hallways, the pantries and larders, etc.). The administration of the carceral establishment has deplored the insufficiency of their annual nutritional budget, and the medical personnel decry a situation in which they do not have the means to provide the necessary healthcare to all detainees.


According to the prison agents, when they arrive, migrants are receive a medical consultation and are able to wash themselves. No means for washing clothes are made available. Detainees are then limited to two showers a week. Maintained in their cells all day, they are only able to breathe fresh air in the exterior courtyard between half an hour and an hour a day. No recreational activity is allowed for. The account given by the sole detainee who could be interviewed puts these official claims into doubt. He claimed to have never been able to see a doctor upon arriving, and that he had further never been granted access to the exterior courtyard during his ten-day detention.

The Regional Minority Centre also discovered other systemic deficiencies at the origin of numerous rights violations: no control procedure exists in order to determine the age of foreigners detained, meaning that there is the risk of minors being detained illegally. Likewise, no procedure exists in order to facilitate asylum requests, and no demand for protection has ever been filed in the Subotica prison. The juridical service confirmed that it is not involved in such procedures, due to an absence of means. No translation service has ever been made available to them.

While the RCM is maintaining its efforts and pursuing actions seeking to obtain rights of access to the Padinska Skela expulsion centre (Prihvatilište za strance), a visit might be planned to the prison in Vranje, situated in the south of Serbia, near the frontier with Bulgaria and Macedonia.

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