In 2005, the IDC began as an email network between friends working on the same issue in different countries. After September 11, 2001, we saw a concerning trend emerge: the sudden increase in the use of immigration detention. Our response was to formalise the IDC, recognising that the insight and sharing through email were valuable for advocates. A new organisation was born.
The organisation now spans 80 countries across the globe, with 400 member organisations working together to reduce unnecessary immigration detention. The willingness of members to donate their time and energy to create change and share their knowledge continues to inspire us.
We’ve compiled a snapshot of some of the high-level outcomes that the IDC has been able to achieve over the last decade. An external evaluation of the IDC showed that in 2009 members in only 13 countries were working on alternatives to detention. By 2014, 69 were involved in advocacy to promote alternatives – an increase of over 400%. The evaluation also found that the IDC helped place alternatives on the UN international agenda, sustained this interest, and significantly influenced alternatives policy and practice across UN and regional bodies.
A key focus of our work has been to develop practical tools for members to use in their own advocacy with States. Creative and constructive engagement of government on evidenced-based solutions have seen many instances of success. Despite a number of positive developments globally, challenges remain to successfully engage governments to end and limit immigration detention.
Ultimately, it is vital that civil society is strengthened to enable increased advocacy on this issue and to create a greater motivation for States to respond to the damaging effects of immigration detention on refugees, asylum seekers, stateless persons and migrants.
The IDC has been fortunate to stand with and support civil society in this important work, and we are thankful to be part of it.
In 2018, Anna Gallagher retired from her role as President of the IDC Board after 10 years of dedicated service. Grant Mitchell also retired last year after 9 years of service as the Founding Director. In June 2018, the IDC Governance Board and Staff welcomed Alice Nah as the newly appointed President of the Board, and Jerome Phelps as the new Director of the IDC.
“The year ahead will see the IDC move to creating a greater space for analysis, information sharing and targeted advocacy and technical support.”