On June 19th, 2017 in Skopje, Macedonian Young Lawyers Association (MYLA) in collaboration with the UNHCR Office in Skopje and with the support of the European Union, organized a conference on the topic „Immigration Detention in Macedonia – Current practices, relevant legislation and possible alternatives“.
The aim of the conference was to discuss current practices of detention for immigration related purposes in Macedonia, relevant legal framework, as well as possible alternatives to detention. Representatives from MYLA, UNHCR, International Detention Coalition, Ombudsman of RM, Centre for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria, Sector for Border Affairs and Migration (Ministry of Interior), Sector for Foreigners (Ministry of Interior), and a university professor delivered presentations.
The following conclusions were brought after the conference:
- No child should be held in immigration detention;
- There is no legal ground for detention of witnesses in Macedonia, therefore the detention of refugees and migrants for the purposes of ensuring presence at criminal procedures as witnesses is unlawful. Adequate alternatives should be explored;
- Persons in immigration detention should be properly informed about the possibility to challenge detention and should be provided with access to legal assistance;
- Alternatives to detention should be available in law and implemented in practice, and
- Legislative changes are needed in order to ensure that the human rights of detainees are respected and fulfilled. MYLA, UNHCR and relevant CSOs should be included in working groups for amendments to the relevant legal framework in order to contribute with expertise.