Written by Hannah Cooper IDC Europe Regional Coordinator & Min Jee Yamada Park IDC Asia Pacific Programme Officer

In mid-June, IDC was invited by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Georgia to deliver a two-day training session to officials of the Migration Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

The aim of the training was to increase the practical knowledge of Georgian Migration Department officials on Alternatives to Detention (ATD). The training specifically focused on how community-based case management can be used to reduce and prevent detention, and provided guidance on how such an approach can be translated into the Georgian context. Migration Department officials gathered in Tbilisi to attend the training, with IDC trainers joining online due to COVID-related measures.

The training covered the following four modules:

  • Introduction to ATD – definition, trends, and benefits
  • Key components of successful ATD
  • Community-based Case Management
  • Implementing ATD – Knowledge to Practice

Participants also had an opportunity to delve into case studies from other countries where ATD are successfully implemented and evaluated. Experts from two IDC member organisations – the Association for Legal Intervention (Stowarzyszenie Interwencji Prawnej, SIP) in Poland and the Cyprus Refugee Council – were invited to brief the Georgian officials, and to set out their ongoing work piloting case management-based approaches with a view to ending detention. These organisations are both part of the European Alternatives to Detention Network, a group of NGOs across Europe that is building evidence and momentum on engagement-based alternatives to detention, in order to reduce the use of immigration detention in Europe.

Post-training feedback from participants showed a dramatic increase in the knowledge of migration officials when it comes to ATD, relevance to their work, as well as an increased awareness of practical mechanisms for implementing ATD that are based on a community-based case management model that has at its core respect for the dignity and rights of all migrants. Participants also commented positively on the new insights they had gained around the role that civil society organisations can play in implementing ATD effectively.

This training was delivered as part of a long-standing capacity building programme on ATD that IDC offers, and will now develop further in order to provide governments and other actors interested in ATD approaches a curated and tailor-made training experience. More information on IDC’s ATD Training Programme can be found here.