Press release: LHR/CoRMSA/ACMS screen Invisible Picture Show to highlight concerns about child immigration detention


As part of the End Child Detention Campaign and in commemoration of World Refugee Day on 20 June, Lawyers for Human Rights in association with the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants in South Africa and the African Centre for Migration and Society will on Friday, 21 June, host the screening of the Invisible Picture Show which documents concerns about children in detention centres. The film has also been nominated for the Innovation Award at the Sheffield Documentary Festival.

Hundreds of thousands of children worldwide are affected by immigration detention. Children fleeing war, violence, famine and poverty are too often met with iron bars and isolation. Hidden from the public, they are vulnerable to abuse and often lack adequate access to medical care and education. The media and other rights groups are routinely denied access to detention centres, meaning that it is very difficult for the world to know about or understand the plight of children in detention. In addition, it is also difficult to monitor conditions of immigration detention and provide much needed assistance to children and other persons in detention. The children are, in many respects, invisible. The Invisible Picture Show will help make the invisible visible.

The film combines real children's voices from inside detention with powerful animation. Using exclusive interviews recorded during telephone calls to children locked up in detention centres in one of four countries (Australia, Greece, South Africa and the United States) talented animators will bring the words of these children to life, creating a powerful, extraordinary visual experience to express the world of each child.

At the moment, roughly 3% of the world’s population are migrants and of the estimated 214-million migrants who crossed international borders in 2011, a quarter was children.

Many of these children are detained at border posts for long periods of time if they are missing the right documentation. Immigration detention has a devastating impact on the physical, emotional and psychological development of children. Detention, even for a short time, can cause long lasting damage and is unnecessary for children and families.

The recently released Captured Childhood report by the International Detention Coalition (IDC) describes the need for a global campaign to stop the growing practice of child immigration detention by governments. The report includes interviews with 70 children who had been detained in 11 countries.

The Invisible Picture Show is hoped to galvanise public support and campaigning to end child detention globally.