Alternatives to Detention and Ending Child Detention Highlighted at ExCom

The UN Office of the High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) governing Executive Committee (ExCom) meets in Geneva annually to review and approve the agency’s programmes and budget, advise on international protection and discuss a range of other issues with UNHCR and intergovernmental and non-governmental partners.

The 68th session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme took place 2-6 October 2017.  The profoundly negative impacts of detention were highlighted alongside a strong push for alternatives to detention to be developed. The progress being made by UNHCR on its Beyond Detention strategy was highlighted, as well as developments on the Children on the Move High Commissioners Dialogue, held in late 2016.

“We know alternatives are possible, practical and cost-effective” said Volker Türk, the UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection.

He also highlighted that some countries have ended child immigration detention, and articulated that this is a realistic goal to aim for, “we can put an end to the immigration detention of children.”

The UN Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights reiterated this sentiment, with  Ben Lewis,  Human Rights Officer on Migration and Human Rights calling for rights-based alternatives to detention including alternatives to detention for children.