July 2014 Newsletter

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    Global Detention Project

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Global Detention Project Newsletter

July 2014



The war in Syria has put Lebanon’s treatment of asylum seekers and undocumented migrants in sharp relief. Three years into the conflict, Lebanon has gained the distinction of having the highest per-capita concentration of refugees recorded anywhere in the world in recent history, this despite the fact that Lebanon is not a party to the 1951 Refugee Convention. The country also hosts tens of thousands of long-term Palestinian refugees and a sizable population of immigrants from as far away as Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Ethiopia, many of whom are domestic laborers vulnerable to detention and deportation because their contractual agreements link residency to their employers. Non-citizens who are apprehended on account of their irregular residency status are generally charged with violations of Lebanese criminal law. After completing prison sentences, they are typically transferred to Lebanon’s sole dedicated immigration detention centre, which is located in a former parking garage underneath a highway that crosses Beirut. The facility is often overcrowded and conditions are extreme, with no natural light or ventilation. There is no established maximum limit on the duration of administrative detention and legislative reform has been lagging. View profile.


Tunisia’s 2011 Jasmine Revolution was meant to usher in a new era of political openness in the country. However, foreigners in the country, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa, face endemic racism as well as little or no possibility of seeking asylum because the country has yet to adopt a refugee protection regime. Compounding matters, the government continues to maintain secrecy over where foreigners are being detained and does not provide any statistics on the numbers of people detained or deported. Despite these short-comings, the European Union has recently brokered an agreement with the country that eventually could lead to thousands of third-country nationals being deported to Tunisia, where they will in all likelihood be subject to detention. View profile.


July 2014: The Journal on Migration and Human Security, a peer-reviewed academic publication of the Center for Migration Studies, published an article by Michael Flynn titled “There and Back Again: On the Diffusion of Immigration Detention.” The article employs concepts developed in the literature on diffusion theory to explain the mechanics that have enabled the spread of immigration detention practices around the globe. The article is available here

21 July 2014: The blog EU Law and Analysis published an article by Izabella Majcher titled “The EU Returns Directive and the Use of Prisons for Detaining Migrants in Europe.” The article is available here.



Center for Migration Studies: On 21 July, the Center for Migration Studies in New York hosted adialogue examining the global expansion of immigration-related detention practices. Featured panelists were Michael Flynn and Dora Schriro, the former head of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Detention Policy and Planning.

UN Migrant Workers Convention: On 15 July, Mariette Grange gave a presentation on the “Role of civil society in campaigning for and using the Migrant Workers Convention” at an awareness-raising event hosted by the European Inter-University Centre for Human Rights and Democratisation in Venice, Italy. Information about the event is available here.

Japan Bar Association: On 15-16 July, the Japan Bar Association (JBA) hosted Michael Flynn during its annual visit to the controversial Japan East Detention Center outside Tokyo, where several detainees have died in recent months. Following the visit, Flynn gave a presentation at the JBA on how Japan’s policies and practices compare to those of other countries.

International Sociological Association: On 14 July, Prof. Matthew Flynn of Georgia Southern University and the GDP’s Michael Flynn presented a paper on immigration detention at the International Sociological Association’s World Congress in Yokohama, Japan. The paper was titled “On the Maturation of Immigration Detention: Theories and Evidence.”

UNHCR Global Detention Strategy: On 16 June, the GDP participated in UNHCR’s strategy meeting with civil society partners marking the launch of its new global strategy on detention.

Expert consultation: On 13 June, the GDP’s Mariette Grange participated in an Expert Consultation held at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human on a new Global Study on Children Deprived of Liberty.

Taz.lab: On 12 April, Michael Flynn was a panelist at a workshop on the future of immigration in Europe that was part of the annual conference of the German newspaper Tageszeitung, the Taz.lab, held in Berlin. Other panelists included Marion Bayer of Welcome2Europe; Madjiguene Cissé, a founder of the “Sans Papier” movement in France; and Laura Maikowski of “Watch the Med.”

Expert meeting: On 8-9 April, Mariette Grange participated in an Expert Meeting on Indicators on the Human Rights of Migrants hosted by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva (OHCHR). The meeting was organized in collaboration with the World Bank’s Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development (KNOMAD), UNICEF, the ILO, and Migrant Forum in Asia.

Odysseus conference: Izabella Majcher participated in the Odysseus Academic Network‘s 7th annual European Congress on Asylum, held on 8-9 April in Brussels.