Across the Middle East and North Africa Region, conditions within detention centres and the use of administrative detention have been making headlines this month.

The spotlight has been on conditions in Egyptian detention centres following a series of events including the sentencing of foreign nationals to life imprisonment and government responses to monitoring recommendations made during their Human Rights Universal Periodic Review Session.

The efforts of judges and civil society groups to draft a change in the law – which would address detention conditions and ‘implement regulations of the United Nations Convention against Torture which Egypt signed almost 30 years ago’ have also been sanctioned, according to local news sources.

In Jordan, a “first of its kind in the region” court decision last year set the precedent that an Egyptian guest worker who was wrongfully placed in immigration detention had to be compensated for financial and psychological damages. This has been upheld recently by a higher court, which stated that his detention was arbitrary violated the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) as well as the UN Convention against Torture.  These developments have been neatly summarised by the Global Detention Project in it’s latest profile of the country.

The Government of Israel announced on the 31st of March that asylum seekers within the nation would have the chance to ‘voluntarily’ accept removal to a third country or face indefinite detention. Uganda and Rwanda are tipped to be two of the receiving countries. Civil society is urging the government to release details and guarantees of safety as soon as possible. Studies of conditions for asylum seekers in receiving countries show they are likely to lack basic protections.

The IDC is looking forward to bringing members together at our proposed Regional Workshop in the middle of this year to discuss these and other issues. For more information, contact Junita Calder MENA Regional Coordinator on [email protected].