Committee opens door on detention reforms

The Australian Human Rights Commission has welcomed recommendations for further reform of Australia’s immigration detention system.
   President of the Commission, Catherine Branson said the recommendations were made in the report of Parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Australia’s Immigration Detention Network.
   Ms Branson commended the Committee Chair, Daryl Melham MP, on his statement that a considered response to the treatment of asylum seekers, mindful of legal and moral human rights obligations, was the mark of a mature and civilised society.

 “For over a decade, the Commission has called for reforms to Australia’s system of mandatory and indefinite immigration detention, both because of the impacts it has on people’s mental health and wellbeing and because it leads to breaches of Australia’s international human rights obligations,” Ms Branson said.
   “The Committee’s report contains recommendations which reflect measures the Commission has been advocating for years.”
   She said among the Committee’s recommendations were proposed changes that would see asylum seekers granted a bridging visa or released into community detention following initial health, identity, character and security checks.
   She said other recommendations called for people held in immigration detention to be accommodated in metropolitan rather than remote facilities wherever possible; the replacement of the Minister for Immigration as the guardian of unaccompanied minors in immigration detention; and the implementation of consistent child protection arrangements.
   Ms Branson said the Committee also proposed that effective review mechanisms be made available to people who had received adverse security assessments and that staffing levels within immigration detention be reviewed.
   “The Commission is particularly pleased that several of the reforms it recommended, which were reflected in the report, also received support from Coalition Committee members in their dissenting report,” she said.
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