A STRING of “scathing” reports by the Commonwealth Ombudsman about the Federal Government’s immigration detention policy has fuelled a campaign by the peak body representing lawyers across Australia.
In almost all of the 14 assessments of detainees who have been in detention for more than two years, all tabled in Parliament, the Ombudsman has recommended that they either be released or not returned to a detention facility. Some of these reports also reveal that the Government is violating its legal duty to take care of people held in detention, the Law Council of Australia claimed last week.
“The Ombudsman’s assessment is that the detainees mentioned in these reports deserve to be released and some should be considered for permanent residency. That’s hard evidence that the Government’s policies and its administration of these policies are deeply flawed,” Law Council president John North said.
“We’ve had the Palmer report which investigated similar issues and was critical of detention facilities and the Departmental procedures and practices. Then there were the Australian citizens, Cornelia Rau and Vivian Alvarez, who were mistakenly imprisoned or deported. Where is the Government’s conscience in all of this?” North asked.
He said the Ombudsman’s assessment is that the detainees mentioned in these reports deserve to be released, and that some be considered for permanent residency. “That’s hard evidence that the Government’s poli3eices and its administration of those policies are deeply flawed.”
“The objective of Australia’s criminal justice system is to ensure the guilty are convicted and punished. It is unfair and unjust that permanent residents who have grown up in Australia and have their families and friends here can be imprisoned again and deported,” North said.