South Africa: Challenging Abusive Detention Practices in Court 

Refugee rights groups are pursuing legal action against South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs in response to what it claims are unlawful arrests, detentions, and deportations of new asylum applicants. They denounce these practices as a violation of human rights, the country’s Constitution, and international law, including the principle of non-refoulement. A coalition of NGOs […]

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People crossing the border between South Africa and Zimbabwe near the Beitbridge border post (Source: Aljazeera,

SOUTH AFRICA: Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review

For the 4th cycle UPR review of South Africa, the GDP teamed up with Lawyers for Human Rights to highlight numerous shortcomings in South Africa’s treatment of refugees and migrants. Despite important progress that has been made in implementing judicial control over immigration detention operations, the submission highlights South Africa’s failure to improve poor detention conditions and prevent abuses in the Lindela privately-run immigration detention centre. […]

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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 […]

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South Africa Immigration Detention Data Profile (2020)

South Africa Detention Data (2020) The latest detention-related data from South Africa, including immigration and detention-related statistics, domestic laws and policies, international law, and institutional indicators. View the South Africa Detention Data Profile Related Reading: South Africa: Country Page South Africa: COVID-19 Updates Staff Publication: “There and Back Again: On the Diffusion of Immigration Detention” […]

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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