UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention Adopts Guidelines, Acknowledges OPBP’S Contribution

Zachary Vermeer - 5th May 2015

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention has highlighted the contribution of OPBP’s research to the preparation of its draft document providing basic principles and guidelines to member States.

The Working Group, led by Special Rapporteur Mads Andenas, has been working since 2012 to provide a framework document for states on the legal principles governing review of the lawfulness of detention. The final text of the “Basic Principles and Guidelines on Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of His or Her Liberty by Arrest or Detention to Bring Proceedings Before Court” was adopted at the end of last month, and will be submitted to the Human Rights Council this September.

In April 2014, OPBP provided a research report to the Special Rapporteur titled Remedies and Procedures on the Right of Anyone Deprived of his or her Liberty by Arrest or Detention to Bring Proceedings before a Court: A Comparative and Analytical Review of State Practice. The report offered an analysis of the rights and procedures available to detainees to challenge their detention in 21 different domestic jurisdictions (as well as under the European Convention of Human Rights), considering six different types of detention:


  • administrative detention for counter-terrorism, national security or intelligence gathering purposes;
  • immigration detention;
  • detention of persons with a mental illness;
  • military detention;
  • police detention (particularly in crowd-control situations or following arrest without a warrant); and
  • preventive detention (particularly detention imposed alongside or subsequent to a sentence of imprisonment).


This was one of OPBP’s most extensive projects ever, involving more than 30 student volunteers and producing a final report running to over 500 pages. The report has been uploaded to the website of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and can be found here.


Congratulations to all involved, with a special thank you to the faculty supervisors, Liora Lazarus and Eirik Bjorge, and to the research coordinators, Vrinda Bhandari, Kate Mitchell and Eleanor Mitchell.


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