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EU return directive affects dignity and security of irregular migrants

We believe that the text approved on Wednesday 18 June by the European Parliament does not guarantee the return of irregular migrants in safety and dignity. On the contrary, an excessive period of detention of up to one and a half years as well as an EU-wide re-entry ban for those forcibly returned, risks lowering existing standards in the Member States and sets an extremely bad example to other regions in the world. At the same time, the text lacks sufficient guarantees for unaccompanied minors and contains weak provisions with regard to judicial oversight of administrative detention. Finally, it allows specific derogations on detention conditions in those Member States confronted with so-called emergency situations. The added value of this EU-directive is therefore hard to see. At the same time, it risks promoting prolonged detention practices in EU Member States and impacting negatively on access to the territory. Amnesty International urges Member States currently applying higher standards not to use this directive as a pretext to lowering them.