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UNHCR: Migrant ‘Hot Spots’ Must Not Be Detention Centers in Disguise

FILE - U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein says all discussions of migration policy are grounded in the need to protect the human rights of all migrants.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights called Tuesday on EU member states to ensure that all discussions of migration policy are grounded in the need to protect the human rights of all migrants.

Speaking ahead of the October 8 meeting of the EU Justice and Home Affairs Council, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein expressed particular concern about the nature of the "hot spot" approach, driven by countries’ security agenda.

UNHCR welcomes “the efforts of the EU to offer support to the front-line member states receiving large numbers of migrants" and says states "must ensure that these "hot spots" are not, in effect, detention centers in disguise,” the high commissioner said.

Italy and Greece have both reduced the use of immigration detention. Italy will be the first to begin relocating refugees on Friday — a group of Eritreans — under an EU plan to ease the burden of Europe’s most severe migrant crisis since World War II.

In a related development, the European Union said it had agreed with Turkey to step up cooperation on the resettlement of refugees and migrants from the conflict-plagued regions of the Middle East.

The European Union said it would help Turkish coast guard patrols in managing the refugee influx under a crisis plan discussed during talks Monday between European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Meanwhile, Ankara will give "priority" to establishing six new refugee reception centers, partially funded by the EU under a draft action plan published Tuesday.

The intention is to create better living conditions for migrants and refugees, prevent loss of life at sea, and prevent further arrival of irregular asylum-seekers and departure of the newcomers from Turkey to the European Union.

The EU agreed in July to resettle more than 22,000 Syrian refugees living in camps outside the 28-nation bloc, including those in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan.

Although the draft action plan has not disclosed any figures, the EU pledged to increase the number of refugees it would take from Turkey.

Turkey says it has admitted more than 2 million migrants and refugees from the wars in Syria and Iraq.