Immigration Detention in South Africa: Stricter Control of Administrative Detention, Increasing Criminal Enforcement of Migration
Long an important destination for migrants and refugees from across Africa and Asia, South Africa has increasingly viewed cross border movements through the lens of national security and criminality. The country’s Border Management Act, adopted in 2020, reflects this embrace of a securitisation agenda, say observers, who worry that the country’s policies will encourage an expansion of migration detention – both domestically and in nearby countries. Civil society actors say that in recent years there has been a noticeable improvement in the Department of Homeland Affairs’ efforts to adhere to some detention standards, which has been spurred in part by important legal cases circumscribing the government’s detention powers. However, tightening judicial control appears to be spurring increasing use of criminal procedures to enforce migration laws. Read the full report.
Submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants: The Impact of COVID-19
In a submission to the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants in response to his call for input on the impact of COVID-19, the GDP identifies several key trends in states’ treatment of immigration detainees. While recognising that some states took important steps to protect migrant detainees by ensuring their release, the GDP highlights the fact that many refused to adopt such measures, and even stepped-up apprehensions—often under the guise of “protecting public health.” Other key trends highlighted in the submission include:
- The reluctance of some countries to establish firewalls between health and immigration authorities, resulting in many non-nationals fearing arrest and detention should they seek COVID-19 testing, treatment, and vaccination.
- The conversion of shelters and reception facilities into de facto detention centres, where forced confinement extended beyond that imposed on general populations and where conditions left non-nationals unable to socially distance.
- The importance of “alternatives to detention” measures (ATDs) as a COVID response in countries with no time limits in their immigration detention regimes, but the potentially harmful role ATDs could have in countries with strict detention time limits.
Submission to the UN Committee against Torture: Guatemala
The GDP has submitted information to the UN Committee against Torture concerning immigration detention in Guatemala. As well as highlighting criticisms from human rights advocates regarding the conditions at the detention centre in Guatemala City, the GDP draws the committee’s attention to concerns surrounding the country’s treatment of newly arrived deportees during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as violent scenes at its borders. Read the full submission.
NEWS & ACTIVITIES
Detention for Vaccinations? The Latest from Malaysia
Since the onset of the pandemic, Malaysian authorities have argued that crack-downs on undocumented migrants and other non-nationals are necessary to stop the spread of COVID-19. During the country’s latest nationwide lockdown, Home Ministry officials have carried out wide-scale raids leading to the arrest of hundreds of undocumented migrants, with authorities claiming that the raids were necessary to ensure that foreigners are vaccinated. Said the Home Minister: “If they are not detained, will they go out to get vaccinated? That is why they are detained.” This policy appears to directly contradict earlier comments made by Malaysia’s Co-ordinating Minister for Immunisation, in which he reassured non-nationals that they would not face retribution should they come forward for vaccination. Read more here.
See also: our latest COVID-19 immigration detention monitoring updates on Benin, Lithuania, Spain, and Denmark.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
Global Detention Project Annual Report 2020
As we look back at 2020, the terrible impact of COVID-19 on the lives of migrants, asylum seekers, refugees, and other vulnerable non-citizens dominates our view. Yet, while the pandemic spurred critical changes in our work, our Annual Report reveals how we nevertheless managed to make important advancements in our objectives. Read the full report.
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” offers a unique comparative assessment of the evolution of immigration detention systems in European Union member states since the onset of the “refugee crisis.” More information is available here.
GDP ON THE RECORD
- “Coronavirus and Immigration Detention in Europe: The Short Summer of Abolitionism?” J. A. Brandariz and C. Fernández-Bessa, MDPI, June 2021.
- “The EU Approach on Migration in the Mediterranean,” V. Moreno-Lax et al, European Parliament, June 2021.
- “Setting a Death Trap: International Political Economy, COVID-19 Response and the Plight of Central American Migrants,” N. Hanlon and C. Nolin, in: COVID-19 and Similar Futures, G. J. Andrews et al (eds.,), Springer, 2021.
- “Dignity in Movement: Borders, Bodies and Rights,” J. L. Diab (ed.), E-International Relations, June 2021.
- “Delta Variant Accounts for 96 Per Cent of New Cases, Warns Matt Hancock,” P. Platt and G. Davies, The Telegraph, June 2021 (Paywall).
- “Women for Profit – Seeking Asylum in the United States: A Neocolonial Story,” S. Riva, E-International Relations, June 2021.
- “Health of Migrants, Refugees and Asylum Seekers in Detention in Tripoli, Libya, 2018-2019: Retrospective Analysis of Routine Medical Programme Data,” A. Kuehne et al, Plos One, June 2021.
- “International Evacuations of Refugees and Impact on Protection Spaces: Case Study of UNHCR Evacuation Programme in Libya,” P. Scarpa, Refugee Law Initiative, June 2021.
- “Refugees in Turkey’s Aegean Region Suffered 2,980 Rights Violations in First Quarter of 2021: Report,” Stockholm Center for Freedom, June 2021.
- “The Guardian Coronavirus Live Blog: 16 June 2021,” The Guardian, June 2021.
- “Globalizing Noncitizen Detention,” J. Balentine, Anthós, June 2021.
- “Legislating without Evidence: The Recast of the EU Return Directive,” I. Majcher and T. Strik, European Journal of Migration and Law, May 2021.
- “EU Migration Policy and Migrant Human Rights: The Protection and Negation of Life at EU Borders,” D. Lo Coco, The Age of Human Rights Journal, June 2021.
- “В Литве мигрантов, следующих через Беларусь, стало так много, что для них создадут палаточный лагерь. Власти считают, что Лукашенко пропускает их намеренно [There Are So Many Migrants Traveling Through Belarus into Lithuania That a Tent Camp Will Be Created For Them. The Authorities Believe That Lukashenko is Letting Them In On Purpose,]” Gordonua, June 2021.
- “Prison Like Conditions? Seeking Asylum in India and Ireland,” Development Education, June 2021.