Differential treatment of specific nationalities in detention



Bulgarian Helsinki Committee

In 2017, discrimination against certain nationalities has continued to be applied in practice, as asylum seekers from some countries are not released and their status determination is unlawfully conducted in the pre-removal detention centres.1

The overall average duration of detention increased to 19 days. However, out of the 2,992 people applying for asylum from detention, 47 applicants were detained for more than 3 months and 38 for more than 6 months. This violation was particularly serious, as it was based on clear discrimination on account of the nationality of asylum seekers, leading to protracted detention.

The discriminated nationalities are constantly changing. In 2014 it was applied vis-à-vis Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, then to applicants from the Ivory Coast and Mali in the first half of 2015.

Later in 2015 and 2016, discrimination was applied towards applicants from India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Bangladesh, while in 2017 it also affected applicants from Turkey, Algeria, Indonesia and China. For example, a group of asylum seekers from Sri Lanka who applied in mid-2016 were held in the pre-removal detention centre until their status determination ended with a final refusal in July 2017.

Since the events in Harmanli reception centre in November 2016, single young adults from Afghanistan are also targeted by this practice.

The average detention duration applied to discriminated nationalities in 2017 was 116 days or 3.8 months.

  • 1. Article 45b LAR.

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The Asylum Information Database (AIDA) is a database managed by the European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE), containing information on asylum procedures, reception conditions, detenti