Alternatives to detention

Turkey

Country Report: Alternatives to detention Last updated: 30/11/20

Author

Independent

Article 68(3) LFIP requires an individualised assessment of the necessity to detain, and the consideration of less coercive alternatives before detention in the international protection procedure. It instructs authorities “to consider whether free residence in an assigned province and regular reporting duty as per Article 71 LFIP will not constitute a sufficient measure”. The residence and reporting obligations set out in Article 71 LFIP involve residence in a designated Reception and Accommodation Centre, a specific location or a province, and reporting to the authorities at designated intervals.[1]

The LFIP states that the competent authority may end detention at a later time following the detention order and put in place less coercive alternative measures.[2] This is echoed by the RFIP, which provides that an applicant who is released from administrative detention may be required “to fulfil other obligations besides mandatory residence and notification obligation.”[3] Both provisions are problematic as they refer to such obligations after detention is lifted rather than before it is ordered.

Up until recently, applicants who were released after the expiry of the maximum duration of pre-removal detention were issued an Administrative Surveillance Decision (“T6”) and were obliged to regularly report to the PDMM (see Registration). This was a concerning practice, as the imposition of reporting obligations to the PDMM is as an additional restriction when detention may no longer be applied, rather than an alternative to detention. Applicants are often ordered to report to PDMM in the Removal Centre from which they are released, or in provinces located far from their assigned “satellite cities” within tight deadlines, without necessarily possessing the means to get there. NGOs are aware of cases where clients have been obliged to discharge their reporting duties in a distant city, two, three or even five days a week, thereby entailing disproportionate transportation and accommodation costs for applicants.[4] For instance, Aydin Removal Centre obliged a non-Syrian registered in Afyon to give his signature every week in Aydin.[5] In addition, people were not properly informed of this obligation upon release from the Removal Centre.[6]

Lawyers appealed such cases of reporting obligations after detention is terminated, but with varied outcomes. One case before the Administrative Court of Gaziantep concerned a Yemeni national subject to an administrative decision on reporting obligation five days per week in a city other than his assigned city. The Court annulled the decision on the ground that “the application of this duty will cause irreversible damages for the applicant residing in Istanbul in terms of his family unity and financial burden.”[7]

New amendments to the law in December 2019 included Article 57(A) LFIP which lays down alternatives to pre-removal detention including inter alia: residence at a specific address, working on voluntary basis for public good, reporting duties, family based return, return counselling, financial guarantees and electronic tagging. These measures shall not be applied for more than 24 months and non-compliance shall be a ground for imposing pre-removal detention. Article 57(8) LFIP inserts that a person’s electronic tagging device may be examined by the authorities to establish the person’s identity.

It is too early to tell how this will affect practice overall. There are some concerns about return counselling given reported pressures in 2019 on detained refugees to voluntarily return.[8] In Istanbul lawyers requested return counselling as an alternative to detention for a woman from Kyrgyzstan, however, the request was rejected by the court. The woman was issued a T6 form with an obligation to report in a specific city.[9] On the other hand, there has already been a very recent positive decision from Adana where a potential detainee was issued a decision on ‘not leaving the domicile’ as an alternative to detention.[10]

 


[1] Article 71(1) LFIP.

[2] Article 68(6) LFIP.

[3] Article 96(5) RFIP. Article 68(6) LFIP only refers to the obligations in Article 71 LFIP where detention is lifted.

[4]Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2018.

[5] Information provided by a stakeholder in Ankara, February 2020.

[6]Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2019.

[71st Administrative Court of Gaziantep, Decision 2017/1302, 9 October 2017.

[8]Information provided by a stakeholder, February 2020.

[9]Information provided by a stakeholder in Istanbul, March 2020.

[10]Information provided by a stakeholder in Gaziantep, February 2020.

 

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of main changes since the previous report update
  • Introduction to the asylum context in Turkey
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection
  • Temporary Protection Regime
  • Content of Temporary Protection