LHR’s Detention Monitoring Unit (DMU) focuses on monitoring the arrest, detention and deportation of foreign nationals at local detention centres, primarily the Lindela Repatriation Centre. The monitoring of places of detention include police stations, prisons and in certain cases, OR Tambo International Airport. With its staff centralized in Johannesburg, the Detention Monitoring Unit operates mainly from LHR’s Johannesburg and Musina offices. LHR’s law clinics in Pretoria and Durban also assist asylum seekers who are detained at police stations or at the refugee reception offices (RROs).
Through regular visits to Lindela, LHR is able to identify immigration trends and legal issues confronting detainees, as well as shifts in the policies of the Department of Home Affairs (DHA) and the South African Police Services (SAPS). Our consultations with detainees also provide us with information about conditions at the facility and the treatment of detainees—an important window into the detention experience given the lack of any independent monitoring.