IDC Southern Africa Visit Promotes Alternatives

IDC Members at the Member Meeting in Africa, 2015, Nairobi

A delegation of IDC Staff will be visiting South Africa, Zambia, Malawi and Botswana between April 24th and May 14 to discuss alternatives to detention.

 

In each country, the IDC will be meeting with members, supporters, UN agencies and Governments about positive practice in the region and ways that these practices can be expanded.

 

Last year, fifteen States across Africa committed tdeveloping and implementing alternatives to detention for migrants, including children, at the 2016 Migration for Southern Africa Dialogue (MIDSA). Find out more about this significant achievement in the MIDSA Dialogue here.

 

All of the countries which the delegation will be visiting have committed to develop alternatives as a solution to end child detention through the MIDSA process, and this will be the focus of discussions.

 

Zambia, South Africa and Botswana are also “focus countries” in the UN Refugee Agency’s Beyond Detention Strategy, which assists governments to tackle this important issue in partnership with civil society organizations. Find out more about this strategy here.

 

Several of these countries are also listed in our recent publication Alternatives to Immigration Detention in Africa, which collates the survey results from IDC members across six countries in the region.

 

All of the countries being visited also committed to work towards ending child detention in the New York Declaration, which was signed in September of last year. The commitments will be implemented via the global compacts, developing guidelines on the treatment of migrants in vulnerable situations to achieve a more equitable sharing of the burden and responsibility for hosting and supporting the world’s refugees.

 

Below we have listed the members of the delegation. For any questions or ideas contact Junita: mailto:jcalder@idcoalition.org

Grant Mitchell, Director of the International Detention Coalition highlights the opportunity that these commitments provide for the region.

“I am impressed by the considerable work that has already been undertaken by Governments to reflect on their migration policies. During my visit I will share examples of positive practice in other parts of the world to inspire policy makers, especially in countries whose law already enables the use of alternatives. This is a critical time for this work to be undertaken.”

Junita Calder, Africa and Middle East Regional Coordinator, hopes the visits will support UN Agency staff and their government counterparts to fulfil their MIDSA 2016 commitment to “develop and implement” alternatives to immigration detention.

“This is the time to test what works, by supporting pilots in the region to ensure that alternatives to immigration detention are implement in a way that is effective and explores all options in the individual case.”

Leeanne Torpey, who coordinates the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children will meet with campaigners in each of these countries to develop targeting strategies to complement broader advocacy work that is being undertaken in the region.

“It’s time to remind African leaders of their promises to never detain children, regardless of their migration status. Alternatives are more affordable, effective and humane – and the right approach for children, especially.”

Tiffany Shakespeare, Africa Programme Officer, says the thing she is most looking forward to about the IDC team coming to Southern Africa is:

“being a part of ensuring that the same freedom Southern Africans enjoy is available to the many asylum seekers and migrants who travel to seek protection and ensure their family’s survival within the region”.

Ramya Dilipkumar, currently completing an Internship with the IDC, and has been supporting the media and communications for the Africa team.

“I’m looking forward to meeting IDC members who run Alternatives every day; working to support migrants who live successfully outside immigration detention. It has been a real eye-opener to me, to see that migration governance is possible with out using harmful immigration detention.”