UN agencies call for end to detention of child asylum seekers, suggest alternatives-Xinhua

UN agencies call for end to detention of child asylum seekers, suggest alternatives

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2022-07-06 03:42:15

UNITED NATIONS, July 5 (Xinhua) -- Three UN agencies urge European countries to end the detention of asylum-seeking, refugee and migrant children across the continent, a UN spokesman said on Tuesday.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), UN Children's Fund and the UN Refugee Agency also offered a range of alternatives and recommendations to help end child detention, said Stephane Dujarric, chief spokesman for UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

"Detention of children is never in their best interests; it is a violation of their rights, and must be avoided at all costs," said Dujarric.

In a joint review conducted in 38 countries across the European region, the agencies found many worrying examples of child detention.

Detention has a profound and negative impact on child health and well-being and can have a long-lasting negative effect on children's cognitive development, the agencies said in their briefing paper. Detention exacerbates psychological distress and risks depression, anxiety, violence and abuse.

The survey found alternatives in various European countries offer viable and cost-efficient solutions for host countries. It listed such practices as supported independent living, foster and family-based care and other child-friendly and child-centered programs.

Recommendations in the report include expanding alternatives to detention for children and families, investing in reception conditions and national child protection systems and enhancing national data collection and monitoring capacities within countries and the European Union.

"Family unity and the best interests of the child go hand in hand in the context of persons on the move," said Ola Henrikson, IOM regional director for the European economic area, the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. "We encourage governments to work to replace immigration detention for children and families with community-based programs, case management and other rights-based alternatives, which have proven highly effective."