HREOC: Scrap mandatory detention

January 20, 2007

Releasing a report on mainland immigration detention centres on January 19, human rights commissioner Graeme Innes said that, while some improvements had been made, Australia's mandatory detention laws should be repealed.

The report was based on visits by members of the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) to the detention centres between October 22 and November 22. Innes said that while the Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs (DIMA) and detention services provider GSL had made an effort to improve the physical environment, and enhance the programs, activities and mental health services available to detainees, two fundamental problems remained — the length and uncertainty of detention.

"These visits confirmed the already well-known mental health impact of detention", Innes said. "Detainees are still held in detention for too long. We would like to see DIMA put more effort into transferring people out of detention into residential housing centres, alternative detention in the community and residence determinations for most, if not all people detained over three months."

The summary report is at <>.

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