Even unaccompanied children are frequently placed in prison cells or centers ringed with barbed-wire."">
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  • Refugees lean on fences during unrest inside Pagani detention centre, in the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, near the sea border line with Turkey October 19, 2009.

    Refugees lean on fences during unrest inside Pagani detention centre, in the eastern Aegean island of Lesvos, near the sea border line with Turkey October 19, 2009. | Photo: Reuters

Published 13 June 2016

"Even unaccompanied children are frequently placed in prison cells or centers ringed with barbed-wire."

The United Nations human rights boss on Monday decried a "worrying rise" in the detention of migrants and refugees in so-called "hotspots" in Greece and Italy, urging authorities to find alternatives to confining children while their asylum requests are processed, Reuters report.

"Even unaccompanied children are frequently placed in prison cells or centers ringed with barbed-wire. Detention is never in the best interests of the child – which must take primacy over immigration objectives," Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said in a speech. "Alternatives to the detention of children must be developed."

Zeid told the U.N. Human Rights Council that he deplored "the widespread anti-migrant rhetoric that we have heard, spanning the length and breadth of the European continent."

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