Asia Pacific: A call on States to end the detention of children

10 December 2012

The International Detention Coalition was founded in 2009 and is now comprised of over 250 organisations working in 50 countries to advocate for alternatives to immigration detention. (Photo courtesy of the International Detention Coalition)

Bangkok, 10 December 2012 — On this Human Rights Day, the International Detention Coalition (IDC), together with the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children, call on States to take steps to prevent or end child detention and start employing humane community-based alternatives.

Detention, even for short periods of time, has a negative psychological and emotional impact on migrant children, who typically do not pose a threat to the receiving community.

States should make a pledge to end the immigration detention of children, using the examples set by countries such as Belgium, who have alternatives to detention in place for migrant children. Moreover, countries like Japan, Holland and the United Kingdom have recently taken steps to release children or prevent their detention altogether.

The IDC and the Campaign will be organising an event at the Human Rights Council on the issue, along with supportive States. The IDC invites Governments to learn more about the existing alternatives to detention, as described in the Child Sensitive Community Assessment and Placement Model it has developed.

The Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children was launched this year at the 19th Session of the Human Rights Council and started conducting a series of “focus months”, concentrating on the issue of child immigration detention in countries like Australia, Greece, South Africa, and just last month, Mexico, where 4,172 children were detained in 2011 and that number is reported to exceed 5,000 in 2012.

According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile” (Art. 9), and children, due to their vulnerability, certainly make no exception.

Nonetheless, they are countries which are moving away from the practice of detaining children and the IDC and the Campaign to End Child Detention want to encourage them to share their best practices in statements at the Human Rights Council next year, as well as at the High Level Dialogue on Migration, which is planned by the UN General Assembly.

On the last Day of General Discussion, organised by the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, the topic was migrant children and it was widely agreed that children do not belong in detention. Moreover, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crepeau, was quoted saying “it’s difficult to see children – three years old, five years old – behind bars” after his recent visit to Greece, which ended on 3 December.

“We need to build on these discussions and current momentum by helping States to explore alternatives to detention for all children, as they are, first and foremost children, regardless of their migration status. The IDC, and its members in 50 countries, is keen to assist Governments in designing and implementing alternatives to detention that are in the best interest of children,”said IDC Director, Grant Mitchell.

Explore more

Planting fish in the wrong season January 9, 2024
I love Nocnocan January 9, 2024
Diakonia- April 2023 April 17, 2023