THE COVID-19 GLOBAL IMMIGRATION DETENTION PLATFORM
As the coronavirus pandemic changes the lives of societies around the world, countries are being forced to alter their detention and deportation decisions. Many countries have already begun releasing detainees because of their inability to deport them. Others have been forced to close detention centres because of the spread of Covid-19 to detainees and prison staff. But critical questions remain about the fates of those who have been released and the wellbeing of detainees in countries that are refusing to release them. These developments point to larger, fundamental questions about the viability and logic of immigration detention as a response to the world’s myriad humanitarian, environmental, and health-related challenges.
Since the Covid-19 crisis began, the GDP has been closely tracking the impact of the pandemic on immigration detainees and the measures that have been taken in response to the pandemic. We have launched this dedicated Covid-19 global tracking platform and mailing list to share regular updates on how governments are responding to the pandemic in their treatment of detainees and to report on the efforts of independent monitoring bodies and human rights practitioners to support these people. To read our latest updates, visit our new platformand subscribe to the GDP’s Covid-19 mailing list HERE.
Please note, we will regularly update the information on this platform as well as add details about additional countries. We will also be adding new data filters and mapping tools to the platform to provide more clarity and awareness of evolving circumstances on the ground. Please contact us with any updated or missing information, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Visit the Covid-19 Global Immigration Detention Platform
OUR LATEST PUBLICATIONS
Immigration Detention in Tunisia: Shrouded in Secrecy
Foreigners in Tunisia, particularly those from sub-Saharan Africa, face endemic racism, little or no possibility of seeking asylum because the country has yet to adopt a refugee protection regime, and pushbacks into Libya and Algeria. There is little transparency with respect to detention conditions of migrants and refugees or their treatment in border regions. Although the country had begun implementing measures in March 2020 to safeguard staff and inmates at the country’s prisons in response to the Covid-19 crisis, no such measures appear to have been taken with respect to people detained for immigration reasons. Read the full report.
Immigration Detention in Belgium: Covid-19 Puts the Breaks on an Expanding Detention System
Belgium has adopted increasingly hardening immigration and asylum policies, including expanding its detention system and backtracking on previous commitments not to detain families with children. But the Covid-19 crisis has spurred the country to temporarily reduce its immigration detention capacity by half even as the Immigration Office has simultaneously halted the registration of new asylum seekers. Read the full report.
Global Detention Project Annual Report 2019
The year 2019 marked the final year of the GDP’s first Strategic Plan. In our new Annual Report, we discuss in detail how our strategy has shaped our activities and led us to become more engaged with activists, practitioners, policy-makers, scholars, and—critically—detainees and their families. Looking back, it seems a remarkable journey, one that began in university classrooms but eventually led to the establishment of a prominent non-profit organisation promoting the human rights of people who are locked behind bars merely because they are undocumented or seek safe haven outside their countries. Read the full report.
NEWS + ACTIVITIES
Prison for Profit: Escaping Accountability for the Treatment of Detainees
On 7 March, GDP Director Michael Flynn joined Abdul Aziz Muhamat (2019 Martin Ennals Prize Winner), Ilse Van Velzen (filmmaker), Ruth Hopkins (investigative journalist), Agnès Callamard (UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions and Director of “Freedom of Expression”), and journalist Luc Hermann to discuss the privatisation of prisons and administrative detention in Switzerland and beyond, as part of the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights 2020. Discussing the growing outsourcing of detention to private companies, the panel considered what is left of detainees’ rights when prison becomes an object of profit. The event was live-streamed, and is available to watch on YouTube.
Immigration Detention in the European Union: In the Shadow of the “Crisis”
Authored by the GDP’s Izabella Majcher, Michael Flynn, and Mariette Grange, Immigration Detention in the European Union: In the Shadow of the “Crisis” (Springer) 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. The book is now available to buy online.
Liminal Stigma and Disaligning Activity: Online Comments About Trump’s Family Separation Policy
In 2018, the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” border policy saw all individuals who were apprehended crossing the border without proper authorisation criminally prosecuted, and the separation of countless migrant children from their parents. In an article for Symbolic Interaction, GDP advisor Matthew Flynn and Eric O Silva (both of Georgia Southern University) examine the aligning activities of both those advocating for separation, and those challenging the policy, through a qualitative content analysis of 1,500 YouTube comments made in response to CNN and ProPublica news coverage. Their findings show that, enabled by social media, aligning activity in stigma contests can produce a liminal stigma, where identities suffer the ideational aspects of stigma but not necessarily the loss of social status. Read the full article.
GDP ON THE RECORD
- “Immigration Detention Should Not be a Death Sentence,” D. Kerwin, Center for Migration Studies of New York, March 2020.
- “There’s About to be a Coronavirus Crisis in US Immigration Centers – and it Won’t Just Harm the Detainees,” A. Dufresne, The Independent, 25 March 2020.
- “Coronavirus: Displaced People are Being Left Without Help,” M. Welander, Politics.co.uk, 26 March 2020.
- “Immigration Detention and Covid-19: Why Releasing Those in Detention Keeps Us All Safer,” Border Criminologies, 25 March 2020.
- “Covid-19: Deprivation of Liberty Information Center,” Canada OPCAT Project, March 2020.
- “Terrible Record of Locking up Migrants in Canada,” S. Vats, Canada Updates, 2 March 2020.
- “The “Invisible” Children Held in Detention Around Europe,” J. Housden, Huffington Post, 8 March 2020.
- “Hidden Infrastructures of the European Border Regime: The Poros Detention Facility in Evros, Greece,” L. Karamanidou, B. Kasparek, Respond, 8 March 2020.
- “Refugees as Pawns, a Short History of the 2016 EU-Turkey Deal Until Now,” D. De Vries, Europe External Policy Advisors (EEPA), 12 March 2020.
- “Liminal Stigma and Disaligning Activity: Online Comments About Trump’s Family Separation Policy,” E. Silva and M. Flynn, Symbolic Interaction, March 2020.
- “La criminalizzazione delle migrazioni – Umanità InInterRotta (Criminalization of migration – Uninterrupted Humanity),” Via Scala Brini 3, March 2020.
- “Child Migration in the US and Spain: Towards a Global Border Regime?” L. Vives, International Migration, March 2020.
- “Externalized Migration Governance and the Limits of Sovereignty: The Case of Partnership Agreements Between EU and Libya,” E. Palm, Theoria (86), March 2020.
- “Re-Thinking Public Criminology: Politics, Paradoxes, and Challenges,” E. Carrabine, M. Lee, and N. South, in: Routledge Handbook of Public Criminologies, K. Kenne and R. Shah (eds.), Routledge, 2020.
- “The “Internal” Dimension of the Safe Country Concept: The Interpretation of the Safe Third Country Concept in the Dublin System by International and Internal Courts,” S. Morgades-Gil, European Journal of Migration and Law, March 2020.