The use of private security companies in detention centres poses a critical issue in migration management, with significant human rights risks.

Securing dignity: the imperatives of responsible security in migration surveillance and detention

When states enlist private security companies (PSCs) for migration management, human rights risks arise due to PSCs’ focus on perceived risks rather than migrants’ actual needs. This approach, compounded by inadequate training and oversight, increases the potential for abuse. The growing use of digital technologies offers opportunities for accountability but also introduces new human rights challenges. Cost-cutting measures often compromise the quality of services provided to migrants.

This policy brief calls for enhanced human rights compliance, better oversight, responsible use of technology and adequate funding to ensure migrant protection.


Abdul Aziz Muhamat, a Sudanese refugee, was detained in Australia’s detention centre on Manus Island from 2015-2021. The Australian immigration detention centre on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea faced a series of riots which were violently repressed by security guards in February 2014 and in January 2015. Learn more.