In 2009, the UN Human Rights Committee warned Spain against arbitrary detention and expulsion of foreigners. The situation not only has not improved since then but has become more dramatic in terms of human rights violations. Some observers have argued that there is evidence of impunity related to the handling of complaints in detention centres. Detainees who lodge complaints are often immediately expelled; access to witnesses is difficult; medical records are not available; and relevant security and police officials involved do not carry visible identification tags.
The opacity of Spanish immigration detention is evidenced by the absence of public data on detention operations and weak parliamentary oversight. Most available statistics are compiled and published by civil society groups, lawyers, police trade unions, national human rights institutions, and media, or else obtained through parliamentary questions to the government. However, being the lack of transparency in these centres something to be denounced, is it the only fact that should be taken into consideration here? Shouldn´t we make a deeper reflexion on how to approach to the migrant phenomenon?
Putting behind bars people whose only fault is being undocumented and deprive them from their basic rights is our last response to confront the situation? In the end, we are talking about people who have left their countries in search of a better life.
Besides, the human cost of detention is too high. The negative consequences of detention and its harmful effects on individual persons are disproportionate to their actual situations, in that they have committed no crime.