NGOs urge Asia Pacific governments to end the immigration detention of children
Regional meeting in Malaysia address concerns about the growing use of immigration detention and the need for alternatives to detention in Asia Pacific
Kuala Lumpur, 25th November 2011
Fifty non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 18 countries met on Thursday and Friday to address the growing problem of immigration detention in the Asia Pacific region. Increasingly countries are using immigration detention in the first instance to manage irregular migration, even where there are no valid security concerns.
International research has found that immigration detention is damaging, costly and does not deter irregular migration. Alternatives to detention exist and proven to be cheaper, humane and effective.
In South, South East and East Asia many individuals are detained for prolonged periods, in conditions below international standards, and denied the right to asylum procedures and to review their detention.
International Detention Coalition (IDC) Director, Grant Mitchell, said, ‘The detention environment has consistently been found to negatively impact on physical and mental health and increase the likelihood of ill-treatment, human rights abuses and refoulement. Particular concerns exist for refugees, asylum seekers and vulnerable groups, such as children.’
To address this, many States have begun exploring and implementing alternatives to immigration detention, which have been found to be cheaper than detention and effective in ensuring compliance in the community. Alternatives to detention are more humane, effective and fulfill human rights and governments must start using them for vulnerable groups such as children, unaccompanied minors and families. In this region, Thailand and Japan have both released large number of refugee children from detention over the past year.
In line with international standards, there should be a presumption against the use of immigration detention, which must be a last resort, reviewable, for the shortest possible period, independently monitored and with adequate safeguards and conditions. NGOs are calling on governments across Asia Pacific to use the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention to commit end the detention of children.
Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) Coordinator, Anoop Sukumaran said, ‘It is absolutely crucial that Governments ensure that alternatives to immigration detention be explored and pursued in the first instance, particularly for vulnerable groups such as children.’
The workshop occurs two weeks before a high level ministerial meeting in Geneva to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Refugee Convention. The International Detention Coalition and the APRRN and its members call upon states to use this occasion to pledge to end the immigration detention of children by considering alternatives to immigration detention.
chinese translation by TAHR
關注外國人收容國際聯盟(International Detention Coalition, IDC)主任Grant Mitchell說，「目前不斷發現，外國人收容所的環境對於身心健康有所負面影響，而且越來越多有呈現出不當對待、人權迫害之趨向。特別是裡面往往有難民、尋求庇護者以及孩童等弱勢族群」。
亞太難民權利網絡(Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network, APRRN) 專員Anoop Sukumaran 說，「政府在第一階段，採取替代方案是非常關鍵的，特別是針對弱勢族群如兒童」。