NEWSLETTER: OPCAT and Preventing Harmful Detention + UAE & Botswana under Review

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Welcome to the Global Detention Project’s roundup of current research, publications, and events. 
BOTSWANA: Joint Submission to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention The GDP and Lawyers for Human Rights made a joint submission to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) in advance of its mission to Botswana. The submission highlights poor and abusive conditions at two sites: the Francistown Centre for Illegal Immigrants and the Dukwi Refugee Camp. The submission recommends that Botswana take steps to ensure that at-risk groups–including children, families, victims of torture, and persons with disabilities–are never detained, that it establish an independent monitoring body to review detention conditions, and that it implement additional measures to prevent harmful treatment of all migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers.

>> Read the submission
SAVE THE DATE!!! WHAT: New GDP Webinar: The Many Tools of OPCAT for Preventing Harmful Migration-related Detention WHEN: 5 September 2022, 13h – 15h CETThe GDP is excited to announce the third instalment in our interactive webinar series on how civil society organisations can mobilise international and regional human rights monitors to promote the rights of detained refugees and migrants. This webinar will focus on the various mechanisms established by the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention against Torture (OPCAT) that can help prevent human rights violations in migration-related detention, including the Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) and National Preventive Mechanisms (NPMs). We are delighted to have several distinguished speakers participating in the event, including: Malcolm Evans, Professor of International Public Law, University of Bristol, and former Chairperson of the SPT; Hindpal Singh Bhui of the UK Inspectorate of Prisons; NPMs from Serbia, Turkey, and Italy; Veronica Filippeschi from the Association for the Prevention of Torture (APT); and Steven Caruana of the Australia OPCAT Network. 

The event is open to all; please contact the GDP to register!

More information about this webinar is available here. For more information about previous webinars in this series, see:
>> The UN Committee on Migrant Workers as a Venue for Protecting the Rights of Migrant DetaineesA GDP Briefing with CMW Member Pablo Ceriani 
>> The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention as a Venue for Challenging Arbitrary Immigration DetentionA GDP Briefing with Elina Steinerte
“And So Advocacy Became Healing”: A GDP Q&A with Abdul Aziz MuhamatIn 2013, Abdul Aziz Muhamat’s father put him on a flight departing Sudan when conflict threatened the family. His journey to freedom and safety was cut short when the Australian navy intercepted the boat he had boarded from Indonesia to Australia and sent him to Manus Island, Papua New Guinea. Aziz languished for nearly six years on Manus where he was an indefatigable advocate for those trapped in Australia’s offshore detention system. Today, Aziz lives in Switzerland, having been granted asylum after receiving Geneva’s prestigious Martin Ennals Award for Human Rights Defenders in 2019. In 2021, Aziz joined the GDP as a research and advocacy fellow. Executive Director Michael Flynn spoke to Aziz about his experiences, the challenges he sees in making advocacy more effective, and his plans for the future.

>> Read the interview
A Tale of Two Refugee Crises  By Rachael Reilly & Michael Flynn
Inter Press Service, 7 March 2022

During the 2015 refugee “crisis” that drove more than a million people to Europe, the EU justified detaining arriving refugees for up to 18 months. Less than two weeks into Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and more than two million people had already fled into neighbouring EU countries. But there have been no calls from Brussels to detain these refugees. 

>> Read the article
Immigration Detention in Australia: Turning Arbitrary Detention into a Global BrandAustralia’s migration detention system is an extreme global outlier: It detains people far longer than any other country; the costs of detention are astronomical; the country detains everyone–including children–without a visa; it hides asylum seekers from the legal system by locking them up “offshore”; it places detainees in the hands of private contractors accused of abuses and cutting corners; and it has turned migration detention into a global race to the bottom as other wealthy countries seek to emulate Australia’s arbitrary detention model. In its first major report on Australia since 2008, the Global Detention Project exposes one of the world’s most abusive immigration detention systems. 

>> Read the report



“Asian Prisoner Support Committee Celebrates Victories Against ICE,” by Annakai Hayakawa Geshlider, Rafu Shimpo, 1 June, 2022
“Migrants and asylum seekers remain locked up near front lines,” Ticker News, 23 June 2022
“Deaths in immigration centres: An urgent wake-up call,” Simraatraj Kaur Dhillon & Farah Mohd Anuar, Malaysiakini, June 30 2022
“Immigration depot deaths an urgent wake-up call for Malaysia,” Letter to the Editor from Simraatraj Kaur Dhillon and Farah Mohd Anuar, Free Malaysia Today, 29 June, 2022
“Asylum seekers and migrant workers suffer in “appalling” immigration detention centers, 149 have died in the past year and a half,” Collin Leonard, Deseret News, 28 June 2022
“Malaysian immigrant detention center “hell”, report reveals,” Worldakkam, 28 June 2022

“Asylum seekers, healthcare, and the right to have rights,” chapter in “The political struggle over Australia’s ‘medevac’ law,”, David Neil and Michelle Peterie, Routledge, 2022
Gendered borders of the European Union: Women in Moria Refugee Camps in Lesvos, Greece, throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Maura Kitchens West, Thesis submitted to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2022
“Fusing Domestic and International Security Agendas: The 2015 Migration Crisis,” Marilena Koppa, 27 May, 2022
“The Treatment of Immigrants in the European Court of Human Rights: Moving Beyond Criminalisation,” Amanda Spalding, Bloomsbury Publishing, 14 July, 2022
“The Creeping Privatization of Immigration Detention in Canada,” J Zyfi, A Macklin in “Changing of the Guards: Private Influences, Privatization, and Criminal Justice in Canada,” UBC Press, 2022