18 March 2011: UNHCR does not condone the use of violence by a small group of asylum-seekers on Christmas Island.
However, UNHCR remains deeply concerned by the underlying impact of mandatory detention on the psycho-social health and welfare of the many people being held for prolonged periods in isolated parts of Australia.
These include many refugees already recognized by the Government of Australia or UNHCR as needing protection from persecution.
UNHCR believes there are viable alternatives to detention that can satisfy both the legitimate security concerns of Australia but also ensure that the health and welfare needs and human rights of those arriving by boat are being met appropriately.
The Office is keen to discuss these alternatives with the Government and other interested parties as a matter of priority.