Global Detention Project Country Profiles

New GDP Detention Profiles

Lebanon is host to some 500,000 refugees and asylum seekers, including
more than 400,000 Palestinians, most of whom are registered with the UN
Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The
country has been a destination or transit state for immigrants and
asylum seekers from across the globe, including Sudan, Ethiopia, Sri
Lanka, Egypt, Bangladesh, the Philippines, India, Iraq, Pakistan, Nepal,
Tanzania, and Syria. Lebanese authorities use ordinary prisons to
incarcerate both irregular migrants and asylum seekers, who are
generally charged with criminal violations because of their immigration
status. After completing prison sentences, migrants are held in
administrative detention until they can be deported. There is no
established maximum limit on the duration of administrative detention.
Lebanon is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention or its 1967 Protocol.

Located in the south-eastern corner of the European Union (EU), Bulgaria
is a transit country for immigrants and asylum seekers heading to
Western Europe from the Greater Middle East (Ilareva 2008). The number
of migrants crossing into the country, however, is smaller than that of
other EU border countries, such as Poland and Hungary. Bulgaria's
detention infrastructure is similarly smaller, although the country's
sole dedicated immigration detention facility has been heavily
criticized because of the poor treatment of detainees. This includes a
lack of medical care, which was blamed for the 2009 death of a Syrian
migrant who had been held in detention for nearly three years.

Located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, Latvia shares borders
with four countries—Estonia, Russia, Belarus, and Lithuania. Shortly
after independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Latvia restored its
pre-1922 Constitution, and since joining the European Union in 2004 the
country has become a key Euro frontier state. Latvia’s immigration and
asylum policies, including measures for detention and expulsion, have
been developed to meet EU acquis standards. The country has received
substantial financial and technical support from Nordic countries, the
EU PHARE programme, and the International Organisation for Migration to
strengthen its legal framework and management capacity with respect to
the treatment of irregular foreign nationals.

Since independence in 1990, Lithuania has become an important
destination for irregular migrants and asylum seekers from the former
Soviet republics and Central Asia, receiving considerably higher numbers
of asylum seekers compared to the other Baltic countries. Since it
became a European Union member in 2004, Lithuania’s eastern frontier has
become an external border for the Euro zone. In addition, Lithuania is
an immigrant source country and a key country of origin of trafficked
peoples. Although Lithuania does not generally detain asylum seekers,
irregular migrants are often detained for as long as nine months in
conditions that observers qualify as very poor.

"Immigration Detention and the Aesthetics of Incarceration,"
Presentation by the Global Detention Project, Oxford Immigration
Detention Workshop, 28 June 2010. For other presentations from the
conference, see Podcasts from the University of Oxford:

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