13 June 2014
UNHCR has published a new initiative, Global Strategy – Beyond Detention 2014-2019, aimed at supporting governments in stopping the detention of asylum seekers and refugees. The main objectives of the Global Strategy are: to eliminate the detention of children, to ensure alternatives to detention are available in law and in practice, and—where, according to UNHCR, detention is necessary and unavoidable—to ensure detention conditions meet international standards. These objectives came about after an analysis of the most concerning state practices, such as the routine use of detention in immigration and asylum procedures, the use of detention as a deterrent to potential arrivals, and the lack of adequate conditions in and monitoring of detention facilities.
Beginning in over 10 countries during the initial roll-out period spanning June 2014 – June 2016, UNHCR offices will implement plans of action at national or regional levels in conjunction with partners such as NGOs, national human rights commissions, academics, and State authorities. These plans may incorporate advocacy interventions; awareness raising and campaigning; promoting information sharing, data collection, and reporting; and securing access to and monitoring of detention sites, among other measures.
It is envisaged that more countries will be included in the Global Strategy following the roll-out period, however all countries “where detention is a protection challenge are to be guided by and to follow the Global Strategy and adapt it to their country context.”
This article originally appeared in the ECRE Weekly Bulletin of 13 June 2014.
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