UK: Plans to Replicate Australia’s Maligned Offshore Detention Regime Ignore a Long History of Failure and Suffering

Earlier this month, leaks revealed that the UK government has considered plans to send asylum seekers to offshore “processing” facilities stretching from Europe to North Africa to Asia, including in Moldova, Morocco, Papua New Guinea, and even Ascension Island and St Helena. According to the Guardian, which obtained the documents, the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and […]

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Immigration Detention in the European Union

This book offers a unique comparative assessment of the evolution of immigration detention systems in European Union member states since the onset of the “refugee crisis.” By applying an analytical framework premised on international human rights law in assessing domestic detention regimes, the book reveals the extent to which EU legislation has led to the adoption of laws and practices that may disregard fundamental rights and standards. […]

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“Don’t Call the Essex 39 a ‘Tragedy’”

On 23 October, 39 people were found dead in the back of a refrigerated lorry in Essex, South East England. The truck had crossed The Channel from Belgium – a route which is increasingly used by migrants seeking to enter the UK, as well as by trafficking networks. Initially, police said that the 31 men […]

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Statement to the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries Panel on “PMSCs in places of deprivation of liberty and their impact on human rights”

Statement to the Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries Panel on “PMSCs in places of deprivation of liberty and their impact on human rights” Michael Flynn, Global Detention Project 27 April 2017   I am the Director of the Global Detention Project, a research center based in Geneva that documents the use of detention […]

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Immigration Detention, the Right to Liberty, and Constitutional Law: Global Detention Project Working Paper No. 22

The right to personal liberty is one of the oldest recognized rights in liberal democracies, which raises fundamental constitutional questions about the use of detention as an immigration measure. However, as this GDP Working Paper highlights, in common law countries, lengthy immigration detention on a large scale has become the norm and is largely regarded as constitutional. […]

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Immigration Detention in the United Kingdom

The UK’s immigration detention system, one of the largest and most heavily scrutinized in Europe, has been the target of numerous lawsuits, investigations, and public demonstrations. While a recent Home Office-commissioned report called for reducing “boldly and without delay” the detention of certain groups of non-citizens, the new Immigration Act 2016 fails to include many […]

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Can Inspection Produce Meaningful Change in Immigration Detention?

In this GDP Working Paper, an inspector from the UK Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons discusses tensions between pushing for short-term progress in the treatment of immigration detainees and long-term reforms. The HMIP focuses on treatment and conditions, not challenging the system, even if immigration detention arguably lacks legitimacy in a way that criminal imprisonment does not. What amounts to “effective” inspection and can inspection promote meaningful change?

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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