When humans become migrants

A blog containing Marie-Bénédicte Dembour's 30 episode podcast to support her book.


Episode nineteen: Immigration detention not to be resorted to lightly

In this episode, I discuss the judgment of the Inter-American Court in the case of Vélez Loor v. Panama.


(If you have problems with the embedded player use this link to listen).

The victim was a migrant who had been caught inexplicably wandering in the jungle by the Panamanian police. He was detained. At some stage, he thought he would die without his family ever knowing what had happened to him.

The government of Panama accepted responsibility regarding the material conditions of his ten-month detention but disputed other claims.

Amongst other things, the Inter-American Court ruled that immigration detention should only ever be used as a last resort.

As migrants are detained in their thousands in Europe, the judgment reminds us that immigration detention is not a phenomenon that goes without saying.

To download a copy of this podcast right-click this link and choose ‘Download Linked File’ or ‘Save Link As…’.

immigration detentioninter-american courtvélez loor v. panama

Marie-Benedicte Dembour • June 2, 2015

Previous Post

Next Post


  1. Koldo Casla June 7, 2015 - 2:56 pm Reply

    Good posts.

    This recent opinion by the ECJ Advocate General seems of interest: http://www.asylumlawdatabase.eu/en/content/court-justice-ag-opinion-case-c-29014-celaj-28-april-2015
    “With the imprisonment of a person ultimately delaying a future return, Advocate-General Szpunar concluded that the directive must be interpreted as precluding a Member State from imprisoning a third-country national solely on the basis of that person re-entering the territory of that Member State in defiance of an entry ban that had been issued with a return decision under the directive.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published / Required fields are marked *

Skip to toolbar