The United Kingdom’s expanding practice of immigration detention has been described as a ‘dark stain’ on its human rights record. A number of aspects of the UK’s detention practice engage fundamental human rights, including the practice of indefinite and prolonged detention, the lesser procedural safeguards afforded to detainees and the detention of particularly vulnerable persons. This paper evaluates the utility of international human rights law as a tool of constraining these harmful detention practices. In exposing the limits of international human rights law in protecting the rights of immigration detainees, it is concluded that while claims of territorial sovereignty remain unchallenged and ‘othering’ of migrants continues, international human rights law will struggle to constrain - let alone abolish - immigration detention.
Corresponding author. Sarah Crowe: firstname.lastname@example.org
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