Human rights protections and monitoring immigration detention at Europe’s borders

Hindpal Bhui, Mary Bosworth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This paper explores the extent to which human rights law, and particularly the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), can protect the rights of detained migrants and improve their treatment. The paper draws mainly on the authors’ research on detention monitoring in Greece, Turkey and Hungary. There was substantial evidence in these countries that the treatment of detainees was below standards acceptable to national and international human rights bodies. The National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs) designated under OPCAT had so far had minimal impact in helping to improve matters but were beginning to increase their activities. We discuss the relevance of human rights discourse and legislation to the experiences of detainees in this context. We consider the potential of NPMs and explore the argument that helping to improve conditions merely sustains fundamentally harmful detention practices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)640-654
Number of pages15
JournalEuropean Human Rights Law Review
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Conditions of detention
  • Detention
  • European Union
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Immigrants
  • Inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment
  • Turkey

Cite this