Alternatives to Detention in Zambia

Screening and Assessment in a Mixed Migration Context

Between 2013 and 2014, the government of Zambia collaborated with the IOM, UNHCR and the United Nations Children’s Fund to develop the capacity of national actors to respond to the needs of vulnerable migrants in a mixed migratory context. A technical taskforce involving several government ministries, police and civil society groups was formed to support the program’s goals.

A National Referral Mechanism (NRM) and associated Guidelines were developed to effectively identify vulnerable migrants and refer them to appropriate authorities and services. According to the NRM, vulnerable migrants include refugees, asylum seekers, rejected asylum seekers, victims of trafficking (including ‘presumed’ and ‘potential’ trafficked persons), unaccompanied and separated children, stranded migrants and stateless migrants. The NRM process starts with an initial interview and registration of migrants by front-line officers.

The purpose of this initial interview is to assess immediate protection/assistance needs and to collect and register basic bio-data. The migrant is then referred to the relevant authority for a more comprehensive assessment and status determination. The relevant authority may include the police (for victims of trafficking), the social welfare ministry (for unaccompanied or separated minors), the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees (for refugees, asylum seekers and refused asylum seekers) and the immigration authorities (for stranded migrants or stateless persons).

After this comprehensive assessment, migrants are referred to relevant service providers to address short, medium and long-term needs and to appropriate authorities to facilitate case resolution. Following an initial piloting stage, the Guidelines have been rolled out across Zambia. More than 200 front-line officers have received training on the Guidelines and NRM.

Initial monitoring and assessment has shown a strengthened capacity of front-line officers and ser-vice providers to: (a) identify various vulnerable migrants using the Profiling Form; (b) refer migrants to relevant au-thorities and service provid-ers; (c) provide appropriate protective services; and (d) coordinate and collaborate with stakeholders to improve protective services for vulnerable migrants in Zambia.

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There are alternatives cover

Over the past five years, the IDC has undertaken a program of research to identify and describe a number of positive alternatives to immigration detention (‘alternatives’) that respect fundamental rights, are less expensive and are equally or more effective than traditional border controls.

This research, entitled There are alternatives, provides readers with the guidance needed to successfully avoid unnecessary detention and to ensure community options are as effective as possible.