A high proportion of the world's refugees, in the process of seeking asylum, suffer some form of deprivation of liberty. This may involve being required to live in an assigned place with certain restrictions on their freedom of movement, or, at the other end of the scale, actually being imprisoned or confined for indeterminate periods under prison-like conditions.
The flight of boat people from war-torn Southeast Asia, particularly Vietnam, has been described as insoluble, and is a continuing legacy after almost two decades. During the period since 1975, Malaysia has had some 230,000 boat people in its camps. In 1992, 48,000 refugees are still living in camps in Hong Kong, which now houses as many Vietnamese refugees as all the other nations in the region combined.
In 1996, asylum-seekers living in detention on the borders of Western Europe, such as those in the '48-hour camps' in Hungary, virtually disappear for two days with no external contact, no access to medical assistance, no legal representation etc. and then the majority are deported immediately.