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The article explores the relation between detention and information-giving practices and investigates its contribution to migration control and (re)bordering processes at the southern European border. By focusing on the case of the hotspot system implemented in Sicily, the paper explores two main issues: a) the role played by detention practices and their relation with processes of migrant selection and migrants’ rights stratification; b) the link between authorities’ detention practices and information-giving practices carried out by intergovernmental organisations such as the UNHCR and the IOM, and the contribution of this relation to processes of migrant differential inclusion. The research methodology is built on ten months of fieldwork carried out in eastern Sicily between 2017 and 2018, on document analysis and on semi-structured interviews conducted with seventeen key informants. The article argues that the intergovernmental organisations information-giving practices about asylum, identification and relocation procedures a) contributed to perpetuating subtle and indirect forms of migration control and b) were linked, more or less directly, to detention practices carried out by authorities, and this relation contributed to reinforcing the stratification of migrants’ access to mobility and rights.



Working paper


International Migration Institute

Publication Date





01 - 22


migration management, irregular migration, detention, information, central Mediterranean