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Defining Detention: The Intervention of the European Court of Human Rights in the Detention of Involuntary Migrants

  • Columbia Law School, Jerome Greene Hall 101 (map)

European states have resorted to “carceral migration control” in response to a migration “crisis,” implementing shortsighted migration policies, entrenching caricatures of migrants as threatening, and emphasizing punitive rather than humanitarian responses. The European Court of Human Rights has since intervened in the prolonged detention of migrants throughout Europe, often using its power to advance the rights of migrants.

In this talk, Professor Anita Sinha, Assistant Professor of Law and the Director of the International Human Rights Law Clinic at American University of Washington College of Law, will interrogate the foundational principles of the European human rights system with respect to migrants. She will then review the Court’s recent decisions regarding the prolonged detention of involuntary migrants illustrate the potential of the European system to extend human rights protections to migrants. More specifically, she will discuss how the European Court of Human Rights has held steadfast to the principle that migration detention is possibly unlawful detention, and that the European Convention on Human Rights prohibits such deprivation of liberty.