The rights of persons seeking international protection are flagrantly violated in Poland. One example, is the detention of victims of torture in guarded centres, which is linked to insufficient identification of victims of violence and torture by Polish services. At the same time, applicants for international protection detained in guarded centres experience great difficulties related to isolation in detention conditions – they do not speak the language, do not understand complex regulations and procedures, they are under stress, often experience trauma, and at the same time do not receive sufficient support and do not have access to the information they need. These barriers, in turn, can indirectly have a negative impact on decisions regarding their status. Meanwhile, victims of torture and violence should not, under current legislation, be placed in detention, precisely because of the negative impact of isolation on their well-being and procedural standing.
Within the framework of the project, three guarded centres for foreigners – Przemyśl, Lesznowola, Kętrzyn – were monitored, including interviews with foreigners, as well as the analysis of court records of persons placed in detention. On the basis of the collected data, a report and recommendations for system changes for the Border Guard were developed as part of advocacy activities. The report was disseminated among national and international institutions responsible for the implementation of migration policy and the protection of human rights, including representatives of the Bialystok courts adjudicating in cases of detention of foreigners. Individual assistance was also provided to 19 persons, migrant victims of violence and detainees in guarded centres. The Border Guard workers took part in training courses on the initial identification of victims of torture. An e-learning course on the preliminary identification of victims of violence was also developed.
As a result of the project, an in-depth assessment of the support system for foreign men and women detained in guarded centres was carried out, it will be used for further advocacy activities. An important outcome of the project is also the support of 19 persons, victims of torture, who were released from detention centres as a result of the intervention. In turn, those working in detention centres have developed their competences in the area of identifying victims of violence and torture and have been sensitised to their needs.