New UNHCR Detention Guidelines

UNHCR’s Division of International Protection has just released the following publication:

Detention Guidelines: Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Alternatives to Detention (UNHCR, 2012)

With the aim of guiding governments and decision-makers, here is the stated scope of the guidelines (p. 8):

These Guidelines reflect the state of international law relating to detention – on immigration-related grounds – of asylum-seekers and other persons seeking international protection. They equally apply to refugees and other persons found to be in need of international protection should they exceptionally be detained for immigration-related reasons. They also apply to stateless persons who are seeking asylum, although they do not specifically cover the situation of non-asylum-seeking stateless persons, persons found not to be in need of international protection or other migrants, although many of the standards detailed herein may apply to them mutatis mutandis. This is particularly true with regard to non-refugee stateless persons in the migratory context who face a heightened risk of arbitrary detention. The Guidelines do not cover asylum-seekers or refugees imprisoned on the basis of criminal offences.

The volume proceeds to set out 10 guidelines and includes an Annex which outlines alternatives to detention.

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