Stronger control over standards in migrant reception centres needed

Providing adequate control over the standards in reception centres adds to EU Member States’ challenges in ensuring appropriate living conditions for asylum seekers. This was one of the findings from the latest summary from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on migration-related fundamental rights concerns in some Member States. It assesses how Member States are ensuring that appropriate oversight and standards are maintained in migrant reception centres.

Access the oversight of reception conditions focus section and the September monthly data collection highlights.

The Agency’s latest summary focused on the oversight of certain key provisions related to reception facilities including: housing, food, healthcare, information and the best interests of children. Some of the findings were:

  1. All Member States consulted pointed to challenges in providing adequate conditions in reception facilities because of such issues as capacity, security or living conditions, although good practice examples exist.
  2. Most have some kind of written standards for reception conditions which are sometimes legally binding and are publicly available. However, these standards can vary regionally or depending on the type of facility.
  3. Almost half define the standards for reception facilities in the contracts with reception facilities operators, which provides a framework for what is expected for those who run such facilities.
  4. Most have designated bodies responsible for oversight of reception conditions that also regularly inspect facilities, which is important for effective oversight.
  5. While independence is a key element for effective control mechanisms, only a few Member States have independent oversight bodies.
  6. Although asylum seekers can lodge a complaint in most Member States about the conditions of reception facilities, very few do.

Drawing on existing practices, FRA suggests that for oversight to be effective, there should be:

  1. an independent oversight body;
  2. regular unannounced inspections;
  3. strong complaint mechanisms.

The European Commission asked the Agency to collect data about the fundamental rights situation of people arriving in Member States particularly affected by large migration movements. The reports cover 14 Member States: Austria, Bulgaria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Sweden.

FRA has published overviews since September 2015. The next thematic focus will be published in December 2017 and will look at how local communities are affected by high numbers of migrants.