Bangkok, 26 October 2012 — A meeting of forty NGOs from twelve different countries in Asia Pacific convened earlier this week to bolster movements towards alternative models to detention and the protection of vulnerable populations.
“The detainment of refugees and asylum seekers continues to have a harmful impact on their mental and physical health, and it is our priority to find other solutions,” said Oliver White, JRS’ Regional Advocacy and Communications Officer.
JRS participated in the two day conference, organised by the International Detention Coalition on the 24th and 25th of October, to cooperate with other NGOs to develop mechanisms for eliminating unnecessary confinement and finding ways for refugees to be supported in communities.
The outcome – ten national project plans spanning over two years – focuses on priority populations such as children, the elderly, those in poor health, stateless and prolonged cases.
“Children are one of the most vulnerable groups in detention,” said Wanrob Toi, the Project Director of JRS’ Immigration Detention services. “Detention is not the place for them. This should be the first priority,” he added.
JRS is a founding member of the International Detention Coalition, established in 2006, and works in detention centres in Indonesia, Thailand and Australia to provide social assistance, health care, counselling, and supplemental nutrition.