While the halting of a boatload of Tamil asylum seekers in Indonesia continues to get plenty of coverage, here is a small sample of other experiences asylum seekers are going through elsewhere on the globe:

More than 850 people – including 200 unaccompanied children – are being held in shocking conditions at a detention centre for illegal immigrants on the Greek island of Lesvos, the UN refugee agency UNHCR said on Friday.  … UNHCR spokesman Andrej Mahecic said commission staff had visited the centre, which has a capacity of 250 to 300, earlier this week. Most detainees were from Afghanistan, he said.

“The way the Austrian authorities implement the current detention system is a breach of human rights,” said Heinz Patzelt, head of Amnesty International in Austria. ….

Rights groups say that although there are clear international guidelines that preventive detention should only be used where completely unavoidable and should not include minors and people with special needs, Austrian authorities interpret the law broadly. They say many migrants are put in detention for lengthy periods, including children and those with special needs.

They also claim that conditions in preventive detention are worse than in normal prisons.  Prof. Manfred Nowak, head of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Vienna, said: “The facilities are only police jails, often dating back to the 19th century, and they were originally designed to serve a punitive purpose. They are not suitable as long-term detention centres. Open detention facilities where people have the chance to move around freely and do sports and so on are needed.

Britain deported 50 Iraqi refugees to Iraq, but the Iraqi authorities who boarded the plane allowed only 9 of them to get off, and then sent the rest back to Britain, officials confirmed Saturday.

During the episode on Thursday, the nine refugees allowed to get off the plane were those who agreed to do so voluntarily and who could prove that they came from southern or central Iraq, according to the minister of displacement and migration, Abdul Samad Sultan, in an interview on Saturday. Practically speaking, that meant that Arabs could stay but Kurds could not.

  • And in Malaysia

Another six Burmese migrants have died while in detention in Malaysia because of a suspected waterborne disease.

Detention of migrant and refugee children in Malaysia.

Figures provided to the Malaysian Parliament show 2397 children were put in immigration detention in Malaysia last year, including over 800 from Burma.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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