Persistent Reports of Severe Human Rights Violations in Malaysia’s Immigration Detention Centres 

Malaysia has been repeatedly criticised for having one of the world’s most abusive and punitive immigration detention systems. Yet the government continues to fail to address the international community’s recommendations to protect vulnerable migrants and refugees in the country, as the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) recently reported in a […]

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Undocumented migrants detained after an immigration raid in Kuala Lumpur (Source: Human Rights Watch,

Mass Escape from Malaysian Detention Centre Highlights Need for Reforms 

On 1 February, 131 (mainly Rohingya) refugees escaped from an immigration detention centre in the Malaysian state of Perak following reported riots in the facility, called the Bidor Temporary Immigration Depot. This is the second mass escape in two years from a Malaysian detention centre, which observers say underscores the inhumane conditions that immigration detainees […]

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Rohingya refugees, who escaped from a Malaysian Immigration detention centre on Wednesday, are rearrested by police (Source: Al Jazeera -

Malaysia: Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review

Malaysia’s immigration enforcement regime—including detention, forced removals, criminal prosecution, and corporal punishment—is one of the world’s more punitive, arbitrary, and harmful systems. In a submission to the UPR, the GDP and APRRN highlight areas of particular concern. […]

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Malaysia Immigration Detention Data Profile (2020)

Malaysia Detention Data (2020) The latest detention-related data from Malaysia, including immigration and detention-related statistics, domestic laws and policies, international law, and institutional indicators. View the Malaysia Detention Data Profile Related Reading: Malaysia: Country Page Submission to the Universal Periodic Review (31st Session, November 2018): Malaysia Staff Publication: Kidnapped, Trafficked, Detained? The Implications of Non-State […]

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Submission to the Universal Periodic Review: Malaysia

Malaysia Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council 31st session, November 2018   The Global Detention Project (GDP) is an independent research centre based in Geneva that investigates the use of detention as a response to international migration. Its objectives are to improve transparency in the treatment of detainees, to encourage […]

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Kidnapped, Trafficked, Detained? The Implications of Non-state Actor Involvement in Immigration Detention

This article critically assesses a range of new non-state actors who have become involved in the deprivation of liberty of migrants and asylum seekers, describes the various forces that appear to be driving their engagement, and makes a series of recommendations concerning the role of non-state actors and detention in global efforts to manage international migration. […]

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Submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women: Malaysia

Global Detention Project Submission to the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women Pre-sessional Working Group for the 69th session (24-28 July 2017) Malaysia Geneva, June 2017   Issues related to immigration detention   The Global Detention Project (GDP) welcomes the opportunity to provide information relevant to the Consideration of the combined third […]

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Immigration Detention in Malaysia

Malaysia is a magnet for migrants and asylum seekers despite its poor human rights record and failure to ratify key human rights treaties. Illegal entry and stay is criminalized and migrants often serve prison sentences before being transferred to one of twelve “immigration depots” while awaiting deportation. Caning, a legacy of British colonial rule, is […]

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There and Back Again: On the Diffusion of Immigration Detention

From Mexico to the Bahamas, Mauritania to Lebanon, Turkey to Saudi Arabia, South Africa to Indonesia, Malaysia to Thailand, immigration-related detention has become an established policy apparatus that counts on dedicated facilities and burgeoning institutional bureaucracies. Until relatively recently, however, detention appears to have been largely an ad hoc tool, employed mainly by wealthy states in exigent circumstances. This paper uses concepts from diffusion theory to detail the history of key policy events in several important immigration destination countries that led to the spreading of detention practices during the last 30 years and assesses some of the motives that appear to have encouraged this phenomenon. […]

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Michael Flynn on the Diffusion of Immigration Detention