Source description last updated: 7 January 2022

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 with priority +R.


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, the Ville de Genève and the Loterie Romande.

Information on income and expenses can be found in the GDP’s annual reports, see for instance p. 28 in:

GDP: Annual Report 2020, 13 April 2021

According to that report, GDP had a total income of 320,315,95 CHF in 2020, and the same amount of expenses, consisting mostly of staff costs (p. 28).

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 7 January 2022.

Methodological note:'s source descriptions contain background information on an organisation’s mission & objective, funding and reporting methodology, as well as on how we cover the source. The descriptions were prepared after researching publicly accessible information within time constraints. Most information contained in a source description was taken from the source itself. The aim is to provide a brief introduction to the sources covered regularly, offering information on relevant aspects in one place in a systematic manner.