Australia probes detention of child asylum-seekers


Australia’s human rights watchdog says more than 1,000 children are currently in the country’s immigration detention facilities.

Australia’s Human Rights Commission (AHRC) said on Monday that that a 100 more of Asylum child detainees are held in the offshore Nauru center, which has been condemned by the UN for its poor living conditions.

The rights body says it has launched an investigation into the mandatory detention of children under punitive asylum policies in the country.

“These are children that, among other things, have been denied freedom of movement, many of whom are spending important developmental years of their lives living behind wire in highly stressful environments,” said Gillian Triggs, the president of AHRC.

In 2004, the AHRC’s first report found that the detention of asylum-seekers’ children was inconsistent with Australia’s human rights obligations.

The report argued that long-term detention put children “at high risk of mental illness.”

In an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Triggs criticized a lack of cooperation from the country’s immigration department.

“I think I’d have to say over the last few months, we’ve had minimal cooperation in relation to the kinds of details that I need to know, particularly mental health, self-harm and the processes for those that are transferred,” she said.[More]