[JURIST] The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) [official website] on Thursday issued [press release] a new global strategy to help countries stop detaining asylum seekers, refugees and stateless people worldwide. The UN agency is concerned for the lasting physical and psychological impacts on families, specifically children, who are placed in detention facilities upon arrival to a new nation. The new global strategy aims to end the detention of children, ensure detention facility conditions meet international human rights standards and promote new alternatives to detention facilities. UNHCR's Director of International Protection Volker Turk [bio] stated in regards to the new strategy, "[s]eeking asylum is lawful and the exercise of a fundamental human right. The detention of asylum-seekers as a routine response should be avoided--these are people who need protection. We are ready to work with governments on this, particularly to end the practice of detaining asylum-seeking children."
Immigration continues to be a prevalent international issue. Earlier in March Amnesty International (AI) [advocacy website] released a report [JURIST report] detailing the Cyprus government's international law violations by detaining refugees on an island before addressing their claims. In February the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] called upon [JURIST report] Australia to change the way in which it handled asylum claims. Also in February an Australian human rights agency launched [JURIST report] an inquiry into how the government was treating immigrants. In January Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] urged [JURIST report] Thailand to screen detained persons for refugee status and the mandate to protect refugees and stateless people.