As of April 2022, the most the most represented countries of origin of individuals detained in CPRs were Tunisia (589 persons, representing almost 42% of CPRs’ population), Egypt (183 persons, 13%), Morocco (137 persons, 10%), Nigeria (80, 6%) and Albania (71 persons, 5%). These numbers were similar to those registered in 2021, when the most the most represented countries of origin for CPR detainees were Tunisia (2,805 persons, representing almost 55% of CPRs’ population), Egypt (515 persons, 10%), Morocco (420 persons, 8%), Albania (219 persons, 4%) and Nigeria (215, 4%).
Similar to what already noted in Differential treatment of specific nationalities in the procedure, it is to be reported that persons coming from specific countries – and especially Tunisia – are particularly targeted for what concerns detention. Tunisia is indeed by far the most represented nationality in CPRs, as well as the Country where most returns are carried out to.
In 2021, as reported from the Guarantor for the rights of detained persons, 5,147 people – 99% of them men – had been detained in CPRs, roughly 50% out of which (2,520) were actually returned. Tunisia is by far the most represented nationality amongst detained migrants and the country with the highest return rate (2,805 out of 5,147 detained migrants are Tunisians and 1,818 out of 2,520 returned migrants are returned to Tunisia). As of April 2022, 1,420 migrants had been detained in CPRs, out of which 619 (less than 50%) were returned. Tunisia remains the most represented nationality (42%, followed by Egypt, whose nationals represent 13% of detained migrants) and the country where most of the returns (50%) take place.
It has been noted how the speed with which returns to Tunisia continue being carried out has led to serious violations of the rights of Tunisian nationals transiting through CPRs, from the violation of the right to be informed about the possibility of applying for asylum, to the practice of not formalising applications for international protection, to, where an application for international protection is finalised, subjecting Tunisian asylum seekers to a fast track procedure.
In the past, other nationalities have been targeted for detention and repatriation. This was the case of Nigeria: in 2017, the Moi issued a circular ordering the emptying of all immigration detention centres (at that time, these were still called CIEs) to make room for Nigerian nationals. Record numbers of returns to Nigeria were registered in 2019, with 734 persons returned via 8 charter flights. In 2020 and 2021, detention and returns of Nigerian nationals decreased.
For a gender perspective on the topic, see section on Detention of vulnerable applicants.