Database Launch: Detention Landscapes

We are pleased to announce the launch of an interactive and open-source database, Detention Landscapes, by Border Criminologies, Mobile Info Team and the Border Violence Monitoring Network.  The database pools testimonies, incident reports, open-source research and visual evidence of rights violations inside facilities where migrants are detained in Greece. By bringing all these resources together it sheds light on the systemic nature of different forms of violence in Greek facilities. The database is a tool for lawyers, researchers, and civil society actors. It aims to support litigation efforts and provide a model that can be replicated across different localities. 

The database includes: 

48 Detention Site Profiles documenting the locations, functions and ownership of facilities where foreign nationals are held under administrative detention 

83 Testimonies from people who were previously detained in Greece, attesting to severe lack of access to services and support and appalling living conditions 

● 78 Photos and Videos revealing dire physical conditions inside secretive detention sites 

101 Incidents of violent human rights violations inside detention facilities 

358 Resources including academic literature reports, media articles and contracts with useful information on immigration detention practices 

Testimonies gathered by researchers affiliated with BVMN, Mobile Info Team and Border Criminologies between 2020 and 2024 attest to asylum seekers and undocumented people being detained in appalling conditions in prison-like facilities and overcrowded police stations. Individuals have reported brutal violence after long periods of arbitrary detention in degrading living conditions such as insect-infested cells and limited access to hot water, sufficient food, and medical care - even in emergency situations. These reports aren’t limited to individual facilities, but are endemic across the country in closed camps and pre-removal detention centres alike. 

While this is a collaborative effort that draws on extensive research and brings together a wide range of resources, we acknowledge that this is a non-exhaustive and evolutional tool. For this reason, the database seeks to generate a community of users and contributors to make the platform sustainable in the long-run. We encourage activists, volunteers, migrants and their families and friends, researchers, practitioners and the wider public to document hidden facilities and practices, through our submission form. The information provided will be rigorously reviewed by senior researchers. People can make submissions anonymously if they wish. Moreover, there will soon be a testimony submission form available, in different languages. For now, individuals who have relevant information about human rights violations inside immigration detention facilities in Greece are welcome to contact us and discuss how this information can be included in the platform. We are also in the process of applying for funds to strengthen the network we have built, work with independent researchers and activists in the field, support the work of organisations which are able to monitor these places but also expand the database to other countries to offer a comparative perspective. If you are interested in being part of this collaborative effort, please get in touch.

You can read the post on the Border Criminologies blog by one of the collaborators in this project here.

You can read a newspaper article on the database here [in Greek].

The database is built on Uwazi, an open-source solution for organising, analysing and publishing documents to make information more easily accessible. It was designed by HURIDOCS and funded by ESRC-IAA, Open Society Foundations and the Wellcome Trust.