Africa_wkshp_2014The annual IDC Africa Workshop took place in Kampala this year, with 30 people from Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and Botswana across the East to Southern Africa corridor gathered to explore and expand on collaboration to limit and prevent unnecessary immigration detention.   Participants included representatives of the Governments of Uganda, Tanzania and Zambia, IOM Zambia, UNHCR Kenya and Tanzania, and IDC members and NGOs from each of the 6 countries.  Long time IDC members the Refugee Law Project co-hosted the event.

Amidst large movement of people within and through the region, IDC Africa members have reported increasing numbers of individuals being detained as governments try to manage such significant mixed migration.  Despite this, some excellent collaborative initiatives between government, civil society and intergovernmental organizations have been developed to limit and prevent unnecessary detention in the region.

Examples of these initiatives were presented on the first day of the workshop:

  • Ugandan Prison Services & the Refugee Law Project on provision of psychosocial support and identification of individuals with particular needs within the prison system
  • Government of Tanzania, UNHCR and Asylum Access Tanzania on efforts to improve screening & assessment through prison surveys, joint training and
  • Government of Zambia & IOM Zambia on collaboration to develop and roll out screening tool and national referral mechanism that has been used to effectively prevent unnecessary immigration detention

In the afternoon participants broke into country groups to determine a course of action focusing on how to build upon and improve processes in their own countries, drawing from learning and discussions in the workshop.

Participants from Uganda and Kenya compare notes on country action plans
Participants from Uganda and Kenya compare notes on country action plans

On day two, the focus shifted to regional advocacy efforts, with civil society and UN participants exploring how to collaborate and engage with the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR) around the issue of immigration detention.

We were very pleased that Commissioner Kaggwa, ACHPR Special Rapporteur on Detention and Prison Conditions was able to join the workshop and share his experience and insight.

Key recommendations and next steps:

  • Continue tripartite discussions on how to end and limit unnecessary immigration detention
  • Share tools and resources presented by countries at the workshop
  • Provision of technical support and advice on development of particular ATD types, including case management and open shelters
  • Training on minimum standards of detention and monitoring places of detention for government, UN and civil society actors
  • Exploration of databases for migration management/individuals in ATD
  • High level training and roundtable on ATD for governments
  • Expand IDC Africa Membership: We are particularly interested in attracting members from West and Central Africa – please contact Lucy Bowring or download application form here:
  • Coordinated engagement with the ACHPR. A concrete action plan for work with the ACHPR was developed; interested IDC Africa members can contact Lucy Bowring to get involved.

The workshop report will be made available in coming weeks. Please contact Lucy Bowring in the meantime with any questions