In UNHCR’s view, any decision to restrict an asylum-seekers liberty must respect the right to seek asylum and the right to be free from arbitrary restrictions on liberty. In order to not be arbitrary, any restriction must be based on an individualized determination that the restriction is necessary to meet a lawful purpose, reasonable and proportionate to any flight risk or danger to the community. Appropriate screening or assessment tools can guide decision-makers in this regard, and should take into account the special circumstances or needs of particular categories of asylum seekers.
To learn more about UNHCR’s position on detention of asylum-seekers, please visit the following websites:
- UNHCR, Guidelines on the Applicable Criteria and Standards relating to the Detention of Asylum-Seekers and Alternatives to Detention (2012) (reflecting the current state of international law relating to the detention of asylum-seekers)
- Beyond Detention: A Global Strategy to support governments to end the detention of asylum-seeker and refugees (2014) (discussing UNHCR's strategy for working with governments, international and national non-governmental organizations and other relevant stakeholders to address some of the main challenges and concerns around detention policies and practices)
- UNHCR, Conclusion on Detention of Refugees and Asylum-Seekers, ExCom Conclusion No. 44 (XXXVII) –1986 (setting forth UNHCR's view that detention "should normally be avoided" and comply with certain procedural guarantees)