NEWSLETTER: Welcoming new GDP team members; UNHCR Afghan Non-Removal Advisory; Immigration detention in Morocco, Zimbabwe, UK and more


Immigration Detention in Morocco: Still Waiting for Reforms as Europe Increases Pressure to Block Migrants and Asylum Seekers

Morocco has prided itself for its defence of migrants’ rights, but its reputation has repeatedly been tarnished as criticism has grown over its treatment of non-nationals—including the severe obstacles that asylum seekers face in accessing protection procedures, raids and mass forced removals targeting sub-Saharan migrants, and the failure to amend its asylum legislation to bring it in line with its international commitments. Increasing pressure from Europe to block the movement of migrants and asylum seekers also appears to have encouraged the use of enforcement tactics that violate migrants’ fundamental human rights. Read the full report.

Joint Submission to the Universal Periodic Review: Zimbabwe

Together with Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR), the GDP has submitted information to the Universal Periodic Review focusing on human rights concerns relating to Zimbabwe’s immigration enforcement policies. Amongst various recommendations, the GDP and LHR encourage Zimbabwe to implement measures to bring it line with its international obligations and to improve its human rights record with respect to vulnerable migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Read the full submission.


UNHCR Calls for a Halt to Deportations of Afghan Nationals 

“In the wake of the rapid deterioration in the security and human rights situation in large parts of the country and the unfolding humanitarian emergency, UNHCR calls on States to halt forcible returns of Afghan nationals who have previously been determined not to be in need of international protection.” Read the “UNHCR Position on Returns to Afghanistan.”

The GDP Welcomes New Colleagues

The GDP is delighted to welcome two new members to its team, Rachael Reilly and Abdul Aziz Muhamat. A committed and experienced refugee and migrant rights expert, Rachael, the GDP’s new Senior Advocacy Coordinator, has a 30-year track record in global refugee, migration, and human rights advocacy and policy. Aziz, the GDP’s new Research and Advocacy Fellow, is a Martin Ennals Award Laureate for Human Rights Defenders (2019) and began his advocacy work while a detainee inside the Australian offshore immigration system. Read more about Rachael and Aziz here

UK: Deportations and the “Anti-Refugee Bill”

A surge in COVID-19 cases notwithstanding, UK authorities are continuing to arrange deportation flights. On 21 July, a flight to Zimbabwe departed with an estimated 14 persons on board. Meanwhile, the UK’s treatment of asylum seekers has come under renewed scrutiny after a controversial new “Nationality and Borders Bill”—dubbed the “Anti-Refugee Bill” by many campaigners—received backing in parliament. More information.
See also: our latest COVID-19 immigration detention monitoring updates on ThailandEthiopiaMaltaAustraliaSouth Africa, and Turkey.


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.” Read the full submission.

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. 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.