UN Expert: States Should Immediately End the Immigration Detention of Children

A UN Expert has found that the immigration detention of children is a violation of child rights, and is “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” condemned by the international prohibition on torture, according to a groundbreaking report published by UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez.

This report explores child protection standards and frameworks within immigration detention, to shield children from torture, ill-treatment and experiencing harmful conditions. It finds that detained children are at a heightened risk of torture and ill-treatment due to their unique vulnerability and needs.

According to some key conclusions of the Special Rapporteur’s report;
  • Detention of children should be used only for the shortest possible period of time, only if it is in the best interest of the child, and limited to exceptional cases.
  • States should adopt alternatives to detention for children whenever possible.
  • No immigration detention (detention of children based on migration status is never in the best interests of child, is grossly disproportionate, and constitutes ill-treatment).
  • Special attention should be paid to children deprived of their liberty in health- and social-care institution

You can read the official United Nations press release on the Special Rapporteur’s report – “Detention is inextricably linked with ill-treatment, children must be protected” – here.


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