184 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6• when they fail to define with sufficient particularity the grounds uponwhich the concerned persons have been deprived of their liberty;• when the procedures place the onus upon the detainee to justifyhis or her release;• when they are subjected to a degree of discretion on the part ofofficials that exceeds reasonable limits;• and when they fail to provide for detention review at reasonableintervals. 6694. Particular considerations in the detention of asylumseekers and refugeesUnder international refugee law, detention of asylum seekers is permitted,but is constrained by Article 31 of the Convention on the Statusof Refugees which prohibits States from imposing penalties on thoseentering the State without authorisation, where they come directly froma State fleeing persecution “provided they present themselves withoutdelay to the authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry orpresence.” More specifically, Article 31.2 prohibits restrictions on themovement of such persons other than those which are necessary, andrequires that they be imposed only until the individual’s status is regularisedor they obtain admission into another country”. Based on theseprovisions, UNHCR Guidelines on Detention, 670 and the Conclusions adoptedby the Executive Committee on the International Protection ofRefugees, 671 establish a presumption against detention, and the needto justify individual detentions as necessary for specified purposes. 672Detention must therefore never be automatic, should be used only as alast resort where there is evidence that other lesser restrictions wouldbe inadequate in the particular circumstances of the case, and shouldnever be used as a punishment. Where detention is imposed, it shouldbe seen as an exceptional measure, and must last for the shortest possibleperiod. 673 The Executive Committee Conclusions (endorsed by theGuidelines, Guideline 3) stipulate that detention may only be resortedto where necessary on grounds prescribed by law:"• to verify identity;• to determine the elements on which the claim to refugee status orasylum is based;669 Rafael Ferrer-Mazorra et al. v. USA, IACtHR, op. cit., fn. 395, para. 221.670 UNHCR Guidelines on Detention, op. cit., fn. 633, Guideline 2.671 Conclusion No. 44, UNHCR, op. cit., fn. 624.672 Ibid.673 UNHCR Guidelines on Detention, op. cit., fn. 633, Guidelines 3 and 6.
MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 185• to deal with cases where refugees or asylum-seekers have destroyedtheir travel and/or identity documents or have usedfraudulent documents in order to mislead the authorities of theState in which they intend to claim asylum; or• to protect national security or public order”. 674Guideline 4.1 of the UNHCR Guidelines on Detention further specifiesthe grounds allowing for detention of asylum-seekers:• to protect public order:▪ to prevent absconding and/or in cases of likelihood of non-cooperation;▪ in connection with accelerated procedures for manifestly unfoundedor clearly abusive claims;▪ for initial identity and/or security verification;▪ in order to record, within the context of a preliminary interview,the elements on which the application for international protectionis based, which could not be obtained in the absence of detention;• to protect public health;• to protect national security. 675The Guidelines stipulate that detention of asylum-seekers for otherpurposes, such as to deter future asylum-seekers, or to dissuade asylum-seekersfrom pursuing their claims, or for punitive or disciplinaryreasons, is contrary to the norms of refugee law. 676 Guideline 4.3 providesthat States must demonstrate that they have considered alternativemeasures to detention as this “ensures that detention of asylum-seekersis a measure of last, rather than first, resort. It must be shown that inlight of the asylum-seeker’s particular circumstances, there were not lessinvasive or coercive means of achieving the same ends. Thus, considerationof the availability, effectiveness and appropriateness of alternativesto detention in each individual case needs to be undertaken.” 6775. Particular factors in detention on entry or pendingremovala) Detention to prevent unauthorised entryThe European Court of Human Rights has determined that Article 5.1(f)ECHR permits relatively wide powers to detain for the purposes of pre-674 Conclusion No. 44, UNHCR, op. cit., fn. 624. Reaffirmed in Conclusion No. 85, UNHCR,op. cit., fn. 183. See also UNHCR Guidelines on Detention, op. cit., fn. 633, Guideline 4.1.675 UNHCR Guidelines on Detention, op. cit., fn. 633, Guideline 4.1.676 Ibid., Guideline 22.214.171.1247 Ibid., Guideline 4.3.