How should you be treated in the place of detention?

During your detention, the guards and the administration of the place of detention must not treat you in an inhumane and degrading way, or torture you. This means that they must not use excessive or unnecessary physical force against you. They must not humiliate you in other ways either, like using derogatory language or methods of punishment that are not allowed by law. They must also protect you if other detainees harass you physically or otherwise. 


If you physically assault guards or other inhabitants or you don’t comply with the order at the place of detention, the guards may have to use physical force to restrain you. They can only do this to ensure that you comply with the internal rules of the centre and to protect you, themselves and other persons from being hurt. However, they should not use more physical force than is necessary to restrain you and to make you comply with your duties. 

Body searches

On some occasions, the border guards may search you for security reasons. This must be done by a person of the same gender as you and in a special room. You cannot be searched purely to humiliate you.

What human rights violation may there be?

Inhumane or degrading treatment

Mistreatment in the place of detention may result in a human rights violation such as inhumane or degrading treatment. When detained, you may feel particularly vulnerable because you are under the control of the authorities and cannot leave. If you are physically mistreated in such a situation, it may result in not only physical pain and suffering, but it may also have tremendous psychological effects. 

However, not every situation will result in a human rights violation.  The effect such treatment leaves on your physical and mental condition has to reach a certain level of severity to violate your rights. When assessing whether you have been treated in an inhumane or degrading way, such things as the duration of the mistreatment, the physical and psychological effects, your age, gender and the condition of your health would be taken into account. For mistreatment to result in torture, the actions have to be particularly serious and cruel and cause very severe suffering.  Read more about how to evaluate whether your rights have been violated.

Right to life

If the mistreatment by the staff at the place of detention results in the death of the detainee, it may result in a violation of the right to life. Read more about how to evaluate whether the right to life has been violated.


Last updated 01/03/2017