In certain situations, you may be detained to prevent you from entering or staying in a country without legal grounds. However, this has to be done lawfully and with respect for your human rights.

Your physical liberty is one of the fundamental human rights. Nobody has the right to limit your physical liberty without a good reason. There are situations where state authorities have valid reasons, namely to prevent people from entering or staying in a country without legal grounds.

Two situations may arise here:

Detention & Human rights

Human rights permit such detention, but it has to be executed lawfully and non-arbitrarily. This means that the grounds for your detention must be prescribed by law, the authorities must follow clearly set procedures and they must treat you humanely. During the detention process, such human rights as the right to liberty and security, the right to life, the prohibition of inhumane or degrading treatment and torture, and the right to private life may be affected.

About this Guide

This Guide will explain when you can be detained, what procedure should be followed, how you should be treated and what human rights violations might occur in particular situations during the detention process.

note This Guide will only give you guidance regarding your detention in situations when you are in country without legal grounds or seeking asylum. It will not explain, in substance, the grounds on which to claim access and stay in the country, or how to ask for asylum. 

Assess your knowledge

If you wish to use the Guide for learning purposes, the Guide offers you a possibility to assess your knowledge in human rights before or after studying, by completing tests about different themes included in the Guide.

Human Rights Guide

A European platform for human rights education