About the GDP
The Global Detention Project (GDP) is a nonprofit research centre based in Geneva, Switzerland, that investigates the use of immigration-related detention as a response to global migration. Its objectives are:
- To improve transparency in the treatment of detainees;
- To encourage adherence to fundamental norms;
- To reinforce advocacy aimed at reforming detention practices;
- To promote scholarship and comparative analysis of immigration control regimes.
The GDP’s activities include: (1) providing policy-makers, civil society actors, and human rights institutions with a source of accurate information and analysis about detention and other immigration control regimes, with a particular focus on the impact these policies have on the health, human rights, and well being of undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees; (2) developing and maintaining a measurable and regularly updated database that can be used to assess the evolution of detention practices, provide an evidentiary base for advocating reforms, and serve as a framework for comparative analysis; (3) working with academics and practitioners to develop policy relevant scholarship about detention systems; and (4) collaborating with advocacy organisations to document policies and practices through the launching of a interactive online database, the Global Immigration Detention Observatory.
The Global Detention Project was initially developed in 2005 as a result of research undertaken by students at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies. The original intent was to create a tool for improving transparency of detention regimes by systematically documenting where and in what conditions migrants and asylum seekers are detained.
In 2006, the GDP received a start-up grant from the Geneva International Academic Network (RUIG-GIAN) to collaborate with the Graduate Institute’s Political Science Department on completing a comprehensive assessment of the international scope of migrant detention practices. Since then, the GDP has received financial support from a host of other philanthropic organizations, including Loterie Romande, the Oak Foundation, the Open Society Foundations, Zennström Philanthropies, and the Swiss Network for International Studies.
During 2009-2014, the GDP was housed at the Graduate Institute’s Programme for the Study of Global Migration (now the Global Migration Centre). During this period, the project grew from a small academic research project into an important source of information and analysis on detention regimes across the globe.
In May 2014, the GDP was launched as an independent nonprofit research centre.