UNHCR’s learning initiatives on the Immigration Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Refugees

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UNHCR is pleased to announce the official launch of the Fundamentals of Immigration Detention e-learning course and two thematic self-study modules on Immigration Detention Monitoring and on Alternatives to Detention, all developed jointly by the Division of International Protection (DIP) and the Global Learning Development Centre (GLDC).

The practice of detaining asylum-seekers and refugees has become routine rather than exceptional in a number of countries around the world, with serious lasting effects on individuals, in particular for those in situation of vulnerability or at risk, such as children. The e-learning course and the self-study modules have been developed under the framework of UNHCR’s Global Strategy – Beyond Detention. These learning initiatives aim at providing UNHCR staff and partners with practical tools, knowledge and best practices examples to continue advocating for the end of immigration detention of asylum-seekers, refugees and other persons of concern to UNHCR.

About the learning initiatives and their objectives

These learning initiatives provide colleagues and partners with a solid introduction to the international standards and safeguards relating to immigration detention, knowledge to assist in advocating for and implementing alternatives to detention and the principles and practical implications of UNHCR’s engagement in monitoring of immigration detention.

  • The e-learning course on the Fundamentals of Immigration Detention covers the prerequisite knowledge and concepts related to the topic of detention. It contains 6 modules and can be completed in 3 hours of self-study.
  • The self-study modules on Immigration Detention Monitoring are designed with the purpose to equip learners with practical knowledge and skills related to immigration detention monitoring and monitoring skills. Due to its supervisory role, UNHCR should be given prompt and unhindered access to all detention facilities, and be able to carry out monitoring visits. The materials contain 7 modules and involve a minimum of 12 hours of self-study.
  • The self-study modules on Alternatives to Immigration Detention intend to equip learners with knowledge and skills related to advocating for, developing and implementing alternatives to immigration detention in a national context. The materials contain 6 modules and require a minimum of 10 hours of self-study.

Upon completion of the e-learning course and the two self-study modules, learners should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What do we mean by immigration detention and arbitrary detention?
  • What is the impact of immigration detention?
  • What are the existing standards on the conditions of detention?
  • What is immigration detention monitoring and why is it important?
  • What are the elements of an immigration detention monitoring visit?
  • What are the standards that relate to immigration detention?
  • What are alternatives to detention (ATDs) and why are they important?
  • What is the international legal framework that shapes ATDs?
  • How should decisions on ATDs be made?
  • What are the different models of ATDs?
  • What specific modalities exist for refugee children?
  • How can we advocate for ATDs within specific national contexts?

Please note that in order to take full advantage of these learning initiatives you would also expect to have:

  • Experience or future responsibility for conducting monitoring of immigration detention places and /or responsibility for supervising monitoring activities;
  • Experience in or future responsibility for reporting on protection monitoring visits and/or drafting recommendations and other forms of follow-up activities to these visits.

These learning initiatives were developed within the project “Global Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Programme to Prevent Detention of Children and to Protect Children and Other Asylum-Seekers in Detention” co-funded by the European Union.

How to register

The self-study modules are available for download at https://www.refworld.org/detention.html.

You may access the e-learning course through this web-page or directly at two platforms:

The e-learning course and self-study modules are available in English, French, Arabic and Spanish.

Should you need additional information, please contact Maciej Fagasinski (project coordinator, DIP) at fagasink@unhcr.org and Ariel Riva (legal officer, DIP) at riva@unhcr.org.