THE UN Refugee Agency has welcomed the government’s decision to stop detaining young refugees and asylum seekers.
Several government agencies signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), which provides a framework for the release of children detained in immigration detention centres nationwide.
The MoU was signed by the National Security Council, the Royal Thai Police and the ministries of Social Development and Human Security, Interior, Labour, Public Health and Education.
This is a concrete outcome of a pledge made by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha at the September 2016 Leaders’ Summit on Refugees at the United Nations in New York, notably to end the practice of detaining children of refugees and asylum seekers.
The UNHCR, UN agencies and NGOs were consulted during the process leading up to the signing.
“This MoU is a positive example of Thailand’s humanitarian approach to refugees and asylum seekers, and is supported by the recent release of mothers and children,” Giuseppe De Vincentiis, UNHCR’s representative in Thailand, said.
“As an immediate next step, the UNHCR hopes the remaining mothers and children who are still in detention centres will soon be released and all separated families reunited.”
Globally, UNHCR advocates against the detention of refugees and asylum seekers and for more humane and more effective alternatives to be pursued.