Between the United States and Central America

Mexico has one of the largest immigration detention systems in the world, employing several dozen detention centres—euphemistically called "estaciones migratorias"—and detaining tens of thousands of people every year.

Full Country Profile

59,155

Immigration detainees

2020

53,507

Detained children

2019

70,366

New asylum applications

2019

28,517

Refugees

2019

1,060,707

International migrants

2019

At the Crossroads of the Americas

Located at the juncture between South and Central America, Colombia has become an important transit point for migrants and asylum seekers. The country opened its first detention facilities in 2013, as part of a national plan to "strengthen immigration control."

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2,911

Immigration detainees

2018

Not Available

Detained children

2017

10,621

New asylum applications

2019

634

Refugees

2019

1,142,319

International migrants

2019

The Non-Detention Norm Versus Mandatory COVID Quarantine

Paraguay has not emphasised detention in its immigration policies nor has it established a formal immigration detention system. While the law provides for the detention of non-nationals for migration-related reasons—to ensure expulsion—it appears to be rarely applied.

Full Country Profile

Not Available

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained asylum seekers

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2019

0

Long-term centres

2020

1,071

New asylum applications

2019

Armed Conflict, Pandemic, and Immigration Detention

Azerbaijan lauds the operations at its immigration detention centres, which opened less than a decade ago. But with civil society tightly controlled, there are few independent reports detailing detention conditions.

Full Country Profile

1,237

Immigration detainees

2019

Not Available

Detained children

2017

2

Long-term centres

2020

712

New asylum applications

2019

1,109

Refugees

2019

Using data and analysis to promote the human rights of migrant detainees

Every day, tens of thousands of men, women, and children are detained across the globe for reasons related to their immigration status: asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, refugees, trafficking victims, torture survivors, stateless persons, and others. The GDP relentlessly pursues information about where they are locked up and how they are treated to ensure that their human rights are respected.

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Featured Publications

Annual Reports

Global Detention Project Annual Report 2020

As we look back at 2020, the dramatic impact of COVID-19 on the lives of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and other vulnerable non-citizens across the globe appears to overshadow all else. But this Annual Report reveals that even as we sought to steady the GDP ship through this storm, we managed to make important advancements in our core objectives and outputs. […]

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Special Reports & Working Papers

Immigration Detention in the European Union

This book offers a unique comparative assessment of the evolution of immigration detention systems in European Union member states since the onset of the “refugee crisis.” By applying an analytical framework premised on international human rights law in assessing domestic detention regimes, the book reveals the extent to which EU legislation has led to the adoption of laws and practices that may disregard fundamental rights and standards. […]

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Submissions & Recommendations

Submission to the UN Committee on Migrant Workers: Draft General Comment No.5 on Migrants’ Right to Liberty and Freedom from Arbitrary Detention

In a submission to the Committee on Migrant Workers ahead of the publication of its Draft General Comment No.5, the GDP has submitted information regarding the General Comment’s treatment of the role of necessity and proportionality in immigration detention decision-making, and in particular the function of ATDs in establishing whether detention is both necessary and proportionate in all cases. […]

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News & Activities

UK: Plans to Replicate Australia’s Maligned Offshore Detention Regime Ignore a Long History of Failure and Suffering

Earlier this month, leaks revealed that the UK government has considered plans to send asylum seekers to offshore “processing” facilities stretching from Europe to North Africa to Asia, including in Moldova, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, and even Ascension Island and St Helena. According to the Guardian, which obtained the documents, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and […]

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Special Reports & Working Papers

Physical Fences and Digital Divides: Final Report of the Global Detention Project Special Investigation into the Uses of Electronic Media in Today’s Migration Journeys

The “refugee crisis” helped spur a “tech turn” in how people travel across borders and how governments and others respond to these movements. Everyone from civil society organisations—including the Global Detention Project—and individual activists to humanitarian technologists, government officials, and international bureaucrats have experimented with social media and other new forms of digital technology to […]

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