[Press Release] South Africa’s Reputation on the Line: International Report Launch Today


28 April 2017
Leeanne Torpey (ltorpey [at] idcoaltion [dot] org +61 404146117) Junita Calder (jcalder [at] idcoalition [dot] org)

JOHANNESBURG: An international report on Alternatives to Immigration Detention in Africa will be launched in Johannesburg today, 11am at Constitution Hill, marking Freedom Day.

The International Detention Coalition (IDC) report reveals that while South Africa has some positive practices, the White Paper on International Migration, currently sitting with Cabinet, threatens to significantly alter these practices and impact on South Africa’s international reputation.

Grant Mitchell is the International Director for the IDC, a civil society network with 300 member groups in 77 countries. The White Paper has content that is to be commended, but misses the cost savings and efficiency gains that are possible by using alternatives to immigration detentionsays Mr. Mitchell, “many other countries have already seen these demonstrated benefits of alternatives to detention - there’s still time for the government to capitalise on these opportunities.”

The report launch will include a panel discussion with members of an international delegation currently visiting South Africa. They are meeting with government representatives, UN Agencies and civil society to promote their research findings which show that there are more affordable, effective and humane ways to govern migration. Panelist will also include South African Members of the IDC Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants South Africa (CoRMSA).

Research conducted by the IDC has found that using immigration detention is expensive and does not deter migration. They have identified 250 alternatives to immigration detention that can be used strategically to manage migration.

South African law prohibits the immigration detention of children however, in practice, there are ongoing reports of children being detained in police stations and detention facilities in preparation for deportation.

Leeanne Torpey, who coordinates the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of

As immigration legislation is in the process of being overhauled in South Africa,

international experts argue that enhancing collaboration can improve systems, save

costs and ultimately end harmful immigration detention.

Children, will also be speaking on the panel at the report launch. Detaining children because of their migration status is illegal and extremely harmful to child development even short periods of time in police holding cells are of concern.”

South Africa was one of 193 States who committed to work towards ending child detention in the New York Declaration, which was signed in September of last year. “It’s essential that as the White Paper is rolled out, this commitment is honoured” says Ms. Torpey.

Other members of the panel include Kayan Leung, attorney of the High Court with Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) Refugee and Migrant Rights Programme and Roshan Dadoo, the Director of the Consortium for Refugees and Migrants South Africa (CoRMSA). 

Click here to see the full report: http://idcoalition.org/publication/view/alternatives-to-immigration-detention-in-africa/