NEWSLETTER: Penalising People in Need, from Korea to the Caribbean to the Netherlands


Immigration Detention in the Republic of Korea: Penalising People in Need of Protection

Over the last two decades, South Korea has implemented increasingly restrictive asylum and migrant worker policies. The government does not provide adequate data about detention, making it challenging to assess trends in the country, but observers report that this crackdown has recently grown in scale and intensity. Children, victims of trafficking, and other vulnerable groups can be subjected to indefinite detention; asylum seekers can be stranded for months in privately operated airport “holding areas”; and human rights bodies have repeatedly called for reforms in the country’s immigration detention centres. Read the full report.

Immigration Detention in the Netherlands: Prioritising Returns, in Europe and the Caribbean

The Netherlands places increasing numbers of foreigners—including asylum seekers, families, and children—in detention. The country’s Caribbean territories—specifically, Aruba and Curaçao—have also ramped up their removal efforts in recent years as thousands of Venezuelans have sought refuge on the islands. Read the full report.

Submission to the Working Group on Discrimination against Women in Law and Practice: Romania

The GDP submitted information to the Working Group ahead of its visit to Romania (24 February – 6 March). Taking note of the Working Group’s intention to pay particular attention to women and girls who encounter multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, including migrants and asylum seekers, the submission highlights recent Romanian immigration detention practices that may be discriminatory with respect to the health, well-being, and legal standing of women and girls subject to migration control measures. Read the full submission.


Prison for Profit

On 12 March, GDP Director Michael Flynn will join Abdul Aziz Muhamat (2019 Martin Ennals Prize Winner) and journalist Yves Magat to discuss the privatisation of prisons and administrative detention as part of Geneva’s International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights 202. This panel discussion will follow a screening of Femke Van Velzen’s film, “Prison for Profit,” which examines G4S’s management of the Mangaung private prison in South Africa. (The event will be held in the Salle communale d’Anières.) For more information, and to book tickets, visit the FIFDH 2020 website.

Upcoming Meetings

In coming weeks, the GDP will be participating in several meetings and events in Geneva focusing on the rights of migrants.

  • On 27 February, the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants is holding a consultation with civil society groups to discuss his agenda for the year ahead, which includes two country visits as well as two thematic reports, on freedom of association and the detention of children.
  • On 4 March, the UN Network on Migration is holding a briefing for Member States on the activities of the Network with respect to the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration to which civil society partners are invited to attend.
  • On 30 March the Committee on Migrant Workers is holding an informal public meeting with NGOs and national human rights institutions in advance of its 32nd session, to be held from 30 March to 9 April 2020. During this session, the Committee will examine periodic reports on Cabo Verde, Chile, Paraguay, and Rwanda. The committee will also adopt lists of issues for reports on Syria, Congo, and Nigeria.

Worth Noting

In its February 2020 edition, the esteemed U.S. journal Harpers publicised estimates of the largest child detaining countries in the world, based on statistics from the Global Detention Project, in its widely read “Harper’s Index.”

  • Rank of the United States among countries with the highest rates of immigrant children in detention: 1
  • Of Mexico: 2
  • Number of refugees resettled in the United States in October [2019]: 0