Call for Papers: FMR Special Issue on Detention and Deportation
Deadline for submission of articles: April 15th
Detention is used by many states in dealing with different categories of migrants, including refugees and stateless people, migrants who are undocumented or in an irregular situation, asylum seekers awaiting the outcome of their asylum application and failed asylum seekers awaiting removal.
There are practical, political, financial, moral and legal reasons for (and against) detention in the context of immigration/asylum-seeking. States cite a variety of reasons to justify this practice; irregular migration in particular is seen by some as a national security problem or a criminal issue. Many states regard detention as a deterrent against undesired migratory flows, although research by UNHCR and the International Detention Coalition has found that there is no empirical evidence that detention deters irregular migration or discourages persons from seeking asylum. The practice of the use of detention is often linked by commentators and critics either to a state’s more general lack of respect for human rights or to an agenda of securitisation in response to perceived threats. The practice of detention is often linked to the practices of forcible return and deportation for irregular or illegal migrants and failed asylum seekers.
Detention or restricted movement arrangements for the purposes of migration control can take many forms, including detaining people in penal institutions, specialised detention centres or closed camp settings. In some countries detention in such situations is mandatory, and can be for prolonged or indefinite periods. In other countries detention can be arbitrary or otherwise contrary to the relevant international standards or international legal instruments accepted by the states concerned.
People in detention are at risk of emotional and psychological damage, and are in effect criminalised often without legal recourse. In some countries children and trafficked persons and other vulnerable people are also confined in detention. The consequences for the cognitive and emotional development of children may be lifelong. The media and civil society are routinely denied access to detention centres, meaning that it is very difficult for the world to know about or understand the plight of children in detention in particular.
There are increasingly widespread claims that detention and removal are not only damaging to the individuals concerned, abusive and possibly illegal but that they are more expensive than community-based alternatives; that detention is not effective in deterring asylum seekers, refugees and irregular migrants; that it is counterproductive in achieving compliance with final decisions on asylum; and that there are humane, reliable and cost-effective alternatives to detention and to deportation. Yet some states are even intensifying their detention and deportation practices.
UNHCR has announced that in the years ahead it will embark on a global campaign to promote alternatives to the detention of asylum seekers and refugees, and humane reception conditions, and that this will be one of its priorities for 2013. UNHCR is launching its revised guidelines on detention at its Executive Committee meeting at the end of 2012.
This issue of FMR will provide a forum for practitioners, advocates, policymakers and researchers to share experience, debate perspectives and offer recommendations. In particular, the FMR Editors are looking for practice-oriented submissions, reflecting a diverse range of experience and opinions, which address questions such as the following:
- Under what circumstances is detention legally permissible and with what consequences?
- What are the impacts of detention on children and other particularly vulnerable people?
- What are the practical and political reasons for restricting the freedom of movement of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants, and what are the human rights issues at stake?
- What are the experiences in states developing alternatives to detention in these circumstances? What civil society-led initiatives are there? What pilots have there been? How can they be promoted?
- What evidence is there of the effectiveness of alternatives to detention in meeting the needs and aims of states and the wellbeing and dignity of individuals? What prevents governments from seeking or implementing alternatives?
- What examples exist of alternatives to detention in transit contexts?
- Could the processing of asylum seekers externally bring an improvement over current practices of detention and deportation?
- What factors are necessary for the success of alternatives to detention?
- What resources are available to support states and civil society in advocating against detention or for alternatives?
- If detention as a policy continues, what scope is there for improving the rights of detainees, the conditions of detention and the monitoring of detention facilities?
- What is the political and/or legal relationship between detention and deportation and various statuses such as temporary or exceptional right to stay?
- What mechanisms and processes are in place to monitor the fate of deportees after deportation? Can the evidence from such monitoring be used to change states’ deportation practices?
We are particularly keen to reflect the experiences and knowledge of communities and individuals directly affected by detention and/or deportation.
Please email the Editors at email@example.com if you are interested in contributing or have suggestions of colleagues or community representatives who may wish to contribute.
Please consider writing for us even if you have not written an article before. We would be happy to work with you to develop an article about your experience.
If you are planning to write, we would be grateful if you would take note of our Guidelines for Contributors at: www.fmreview.org/you/writing-fmr .
Maximum length: 2,500 words.
Please note that space is always at a premium in FMR and that published articles are usually shorter than this maximum length. Your article, if accepted for publication, may well be shortened but you will of course be consulted about any editing changes.