Immigration Detention and Non-removability Before the European Court of Human Rights

  • Marloes Anne VrolijkEmail author


In this paper, case law of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) is analysed to explore if repeated immigration detention amounts to a violation of fundamental human rights. This case law is compared to similar cases before other international human rights bodies. Finally, the paper recommends possible ways to address the problem of repeated immigration detention. Overall, this paper concludes that the jurisprudence of the ECtHR does not adequately clarify the situation and recommends turning to other disciplines to provide potential remedies.


Human rights jurisprudence Immigration detention Non-removability 


Books and Contributions in Edited Volumes

  1. Akritidou M, Antonopoulo A, Pitsela A (2007) Greece. In: van Kalmthout A, Hofstee-van der Meulen F, Dünkel F (eds) Foreigners in European prisons, vol 1. Wolf Legal Publishers, Nijmegen, pp 393–423Google Scholar
  2. Arcarazo D (2011) The returns directive: possible limits and interpretations. In: Zwaan K (ed) Returns directive: central themes, problems, issues and implementation in selected Member States. Wolf Legal Publishers, Nijmegen, pp 7–24Google Scholar
  3. Benhabib S (2004) The right of others: aliens, residents and citizens. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bleichrodt E (2006) Right to liberty and security of person (Article 5). In: van Dijk P, van Hoof F, van Rijn A, Zwaak L (eds) Theory and practise of the European Convention on Human Rights. Intersentia, AntwerpenGoogle Scholar
  5. Cornelisse G (2010) Immigration detention and human rights: rethinking territorial sovereignty. Martinus Nijhoff, LeidenCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Lawson R (2009) The European Convention on Human Rights. In: Krause C, Scheinin M (eds) International protection of human rights: a textbook. Gummerus Printing Abo Akademi University, Abo, pp 423–462Google Scholar
  7. Shaw M (2008) International law. Cambridge University Press, New YorkCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Spijkerboer T, Vermeulen B (2005) Vluchtelingenrecht. Ars Aequi Libri, NijmegenGoogle Scholar
  9. van Kalmthout A, Graft A, Hansen L, Hadrouk M (2005) Terugkeermogelijkheden van Vreemdelingen in de Vreemdelingenbewaring. Wolf Legal Publishers, NijmegenGoogle Scholar
  10. van Kalmthout A, Hofstee-van der Meulen F, Dünkel F (2007) Foreigners in European prisons, vol 1. Wolf Legal Publishers, NijmegenGoogle Scholar
  11. Zwaan K (2011) Introduction. In: Zwaan K (ed) Returns directive: central themes, problems, issues and implementation in selected Member States. Wolf Legal Publishers, NijmegenGoogle Scholar

Journal Articles

  1. Costello C (2012) Human rights and the elusive universal subject: immigration detention under international human rights and EU law. Indiana J Global Leg Stud 19(10):257–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Fialho C (2012) Rethinking pre-removal immigration detention in the United States: lessons from Europe and proposals for reform. Refugee Surv Q 31:69–100Google Scholar
  3. Leerkes A, Broeders D (2010) Formal and informal functions of administrative immigration detention: a case of mixed motives? Br J Criminol 50:830–850CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Case Law and Treaties

  1. A. v. Australia (1997) Comm. No. 560/1993 (U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/59/D/560/1993). Human Rights CommitteeGoogle Scholar
  2. Ali Aqsar Bakhtiyari and Roqiha Bakhtiyari v. Australia (2003) Comm. No. 1069/2002 (U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/79/D/1069/2002). Human Rights CommitteeGoogle Scholar
  3. Auad v. Bulgaria (2011) App. No. 46390/10. EctHRGoogle Scholar
  4. C. v. Australia (2002) Comm. No. 900/1999 (U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/76/D/900/1999). Human Rights CommitteeGoogle Scholar
  5. Chahal v. The United Kingdom (1996). App. No. 22414/93. ECtHRGoogle Scholar
  6. Clark v. Martinez (2005) 543 U.S. SCOTUSGoogle Scholar
  7. Conka v. Belgium (2002) App. No. 51564/99. ECtHRGoogle Scholar
  8. Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (European Convention on Human Rights) 1950Google Scholar
  9. Danyal Shafiq v. Australia (2006) Comm. No. 1324/2004 (U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/88/D/1324/2004). Human Rights CommitteeGoogle Scholar
  10. Demore v. Kim (2003) 538 U.S. SCOTUSGoogle Scholar
  11. El-Dridi (2011) Case C-61/11. ECRGoogle Scholar
  12. Federal Act on the Exercise of Aliens’ Police (2006) The Issue of Documents for Aliens and the Granting of Entry Permits (2005 Aliens’ Police Act). Accessed 3 August 2012
  13. Longa Yonkeu v. Latvia (2011) App. No. 57229/09. ECtHRGoogle Scholar
  14. International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966)Google Scholar
  15. Immigration and Nationality Act (1952) Accessed 3 August 2012
  16. John v. Greece (2007), App. No. 199/05. ECtHR (only available in French)Google Scholar
  17. Manitu Giama v. Belgium (1980) App. No. 7612/76. Decisions and Reports (21). ECommHRGoogle Scholar
  18. Republic of Guinea v. Democratic Republic of the Congo (2010). ICJGoogle Scholar
  19. Returns Directive: Directive 2008/115/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 16 December 2008 on common standards and procedures in Member States for returning illegally staying third-country nationals (2008) Official Journal of the European Union: 98–107Google Scholar
  20. Saïd Shamilovich Kadzoev v. Direktsia ‘Migratsia’ pri Ministerstvo na vatreshnite raboti (2009) Case C-357/09. ECRGoogle Scholar
  21. Samba Jalloh v. the Netherlands (2002) Comm. No. 794/1998 (U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/74/D/794/1998). Human Rights CommitteeGoogle Scholar
  22. Soldatenko v. Ukraine (2008) App. No. 2440/07. ECtHRGoogle Scholar
  23. Statute of the International Court of Justice (1945)Google Scholar
  24. United States ex rel. Knauff v. Shaughnessy (1950) 345 U.S. 544Google Scholar
  25. Vélez Loor v. Panama (2010). IACtHRGoogle Scholar
  26. Z. v. the Netherlands (1984) App. No. 10400/83. Decisions and Reports (38). ECommHRGoogle Scholar
  27. Zadvydas v. Davis (2001) 533 U.S. SCOTUSGoogle Scholar

Reports, Webpages and Miscellaneous Sources

  1. Amnesty International (2008) The Netherlands: the Detention of Irregular Migrants and Asylum-Seekers. Accessed 2 August 2012
  2. Amnesty International (2009a) Irregular Migrants and Asylum-Seekers: Alternatives to Immigration Detention. Accessed 7 August 2012
  3. Amnesty International (2009b) Jailed Without Justice: Immigration Detention in the USA. Accessed 2 August 2012
  4. Amnesty International (2011) Vreemdelingendetentie in Nederland: Het Moet en Kan Anders. Accessed 7 August 2012
  5. Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (2007) Report on a visit to closed detention centres for asylum seekers and immigrants in Belgium (European Parliament Doc. PE404.456v01-00) Accessed 7 August 2012
  6. Council of Europe (2010) The Detention of Asylum Seekers and Irregular Migrants in Europe (Parliamentary Assembly, Resolution 1707). Accessed 2 August 2012
  7. Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly (2006) Human Rights of Irregular Migrants (Resolution 1509)Google Scholar
  8. Equal Rights Trust (2009) Unravelling Anomaly Detention; Detention, Discrimination and the Protection Needs of Stateless Persons. Accessed 22 July 2012
  9. European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman and Degrading Treatment or Punishment (2012) Report to the Government of the Netherlands on the visit to the Netherlands carried out by the CPT from 10 to 21 October 2011. Accessed 9 August 2012
  10. European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (n/a) European Union Fundamental Rights Agency: Helping to make fundamental rights a reality for everyone in the European Union. Accessed 6 May 2012
  11. European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (2010) Detention of Third Country Nationals in Return Procedures. Accessed 7 August 2012
  12. European Union Fundamental Rights Agency (2011) Fundamental Rights of Migrants in an Irregular Status in the European Union. Accessed 4 August 2012
  13. Global Detention Project (n/a) Global Detention Project: Mapping the Use of Detention in Response to Growing Global Migration. Accessed 1 August 2012
  14. Global Detention Project (2010) Immigration and Detention and the Law: U.S. Policy and Legal Framework. Accessed 1 August 2012
  15. Goodwin-Gill G (n/a) International Migration Law. United Nations Audiovisual Library of International Law. Accessed 18 June 2012
  16. Human Rights Committee (1982) General Comment no. 8: Right to Liberty and Security of Person (Art. 9). Sixteenth session CCPRGoogle Scholar
  17. Human Rights Council (2009) Promotion and Protection of all Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Including the Right to Development (Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, UN Doc. A/HCR/10/21/Add.5)Google Scholar
  18. Human Rights Watch (2010) Costly and Unfair; Flaws in US Immigration Detention Policy. Accessed 2 August 2012
  19. Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (2010) Report on Immigration in the United States; Detention and Due Process. Accessed 7 August 2012
  20. International Commission of Jurist (2011) Migration and International Human Rights Law, Practitioners Guide No. 6. Accessed 11 August 2012
  21. International Detention Coalition (n/a), International Detention Coalition: Human Rights for detained refugees asylum seekers and migrants. Accessed 1 August 2012
  22. International Detention Coalition (2011) There Are Alternatives to Prevent Unnecessary Immigration Detention. Accessed 7 August 2012
  23. International Law Commission (2010) Sixth Report on the Expulsion of Aliens; by Mr. Maurice Kamto, Special Rapporteur (doc. A/CN.4/625)Google Scholar
  24. Jesuit Refugee Service Europe (2011) From Deprivation to Liberty: Alternatives to Detention in Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. http://jrseuropefromdeprivationtoliberty20122011.pdf/. Accessed 7 August 2012
  25. Kox M (2011) Leaving Detention? A Study on the Influence of Immigration Detention on Migrant’s Decision Making Processes Regarding Return, International Organization for Migration PublicationGoogle Scholar
  26. Lambert H (2006) The Position of Aliens in Relation to the European Convention on Human Rights. Council of Europe Publication, StrasbourgGoogle Scholar
  27. Office of the High Commission for Human Rights/United Nations High Commission for Refugees (2011) Global Roundtable on Alternative to Detention of Asylum-Seekers, Refugees, Migrants and Stateless. Accessed 7 August 2012
  28. Sampson R, Mitchell G, Bowring L (2011) There Are Alternatives: A Handbook for Preventing Unnecessary Immigration Detention. International Detention Coalition Publication, Melbourne. Accessed 7 August 2012
  29. Siskin A (2012) Immigration-Related Detention: Current Legislative Issues. Congressional Research Service PublicationGoogle Scholar
  30. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (1997) Brief on Statelessness and Detention Issues. Accessed 3 May 2012
  31. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (2011) Staatloosheid in Nederland. Accessed 12 July 2012 (report is currently not available online)
  32. United Nations Secretary-General (2011) Guidance Note of the Secretary General: The United Nations and Statelessness. Accessed 4 May 2012

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Utrecht UniversityUtrechtThe Netherlands

Personalised recommendations