Source description last updated: 28 November 2019

In brief: The Global Detention Project (GDP) is a Geneva-based non-governmental research centre focusing on the human rights of people detained for reasons related to their non-citizen status.

Coverage on

Country Detention Reports.

Covered quarterly on, for countries of priority D (countries of the Dublin Regulation) and Turkey.


The GDP’s mission is to “promote the human rights of detained migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers” and to “ensure transparency in the treatment of detainees”. Additionally, GDP advocates for detention system reform and works with academics on scholarship about detention systems. (GDP: About the GDP, undated)

The GDP aims at “providing policy-makers, civil society actors, and human rights institutions with a source of accurate information and analysis about detention and other immigration control regimes, with a particular focus on the impact these policies have on the health, human rights, and well-being of undocumented migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees” (GDP: About the GDP, undated)

The GDP “was initially conceived in 2005 by students at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva as a tool for improving transparency of detention regimes by systematically documenting where and in what conditions migrants and asylum seekers are detained.” (GDP: About the GDP, undated)

After being part of the Graduate Institute’s Political Science Department, the GDP became an independent association in 2014 (GDP: About the GDP, undated).


The GDP is funded by, inter alia, the Open Society Foundation, the Oak Foundation, the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Loterie Romande.

Information on income and expenses can be found in the GDP’s annual reports, see for instance pp. 36-37 in:

GDP: Annual Report 2018, 26 April 2019

According to that report, GDP had an income of about 443.000 CHF in 2018, and expenses of about the same amount, consisting mostly of staff costs (p. 36).

For a list of funders, see:

Scope of reporting:

Geographic scope: global.

Thematic scope: detention conditions for migration-related detention.


Desk research and field research, including visits to detention facilities. See for instance this report commissioned by the Norwegian Red Cross:

GDP: Harm Reduction in Immigration Detention: A Comparative Study of Detention Centres in France, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland, October 2018, pp. 10-13

For details on the GDP’s approach to comparative analysis of national detention systems, see:

GDP: An Introduction to Data Construction on Immigration-related Detention, July 2011

Language(s) of publications:


Further reading / links:

GDP: Executive Committee, undated

GDP: Academic Advisory Council, undated


All links accessed 28 November 2019.