Migration-related Detention and the Law

Migration-related detention occurs within a legal framework that is shaped by both domestic and international law. In an individual country, domestic law provides the fundamental basis for the detention of non-citizens and contains the norms that are immediately applicable to detainees. Domestic law is thus the main focus of the legal assessments provided in the Global Detention Projects’ country-specific profiles. However, international law also plays an important role in such situations, and a country’s legislation should be consistent with its international obligations. To better understand the impact of international law, this page of the Global Detention Project website provides an overview of the various treaties, instruments, mechanisms, and regional systems that are relevant to the practice of migration-related detention (see also the project working paper, "Migration and Detention: Mapping the International Legal Terrain").