NGOs urge Asia Pacific governments to end the immigration detention of children
Regional meeting in Malaysia address concerns about the growing use of immigrationdetention and the need for alternatives to detention in Asia Pacific.
Kuala Lumpur, 25th November 2011.
Fifty non-governments organization (NGOs) from18 countries met on Thursday and Friday to address the growing problem of immigrationdetention in the Asia Pacific region. Increasingly countries are using immigrationdetention in the first instance to manage irregular migration, even where there are novalid security concerns. International research has found that immigration detention isdamaging, costly and does not deter irregular migration. Alternatives to detention existand 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 proceduresand to review their detention.International Detention Coalition (IDC) Director, Grant Mitchell, said,
‘The detentionenvironment 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 aschildren.’
To address this, many States have begun exploring and implementing alternatives toimmigration detention, which have been found to be cheaper than detention andeffective in ensuring compliance in the community. Alternatives to detention are morehumane, 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 childrenfrom 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 possibleperiod, independently monitored and with adequate safeguards and conditions.
NGOs are calling on governments across Asia Pacific to use the 60th anniversaryof the Refugee Convention to commit end the detention of children.
Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) Coordinator, Anoop Sukumaran said