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Detention centre breaches civil rights covenant

Detention centre breaches civil rights covenant

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will release a report on Friday (28 October) outlining their concerns about Australia's immigration detention facilities on Christmas…

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) will release a report on Friday (28 October) outlining their concerns about Australia's immigration detention facilities on Christmas Island.

Speaking to Lawyers Weekly, AHRC president Catherine Branson QC said the Commission's concerns arise primarily from the conditions within the centres, which are at odds with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

"Our concerns about Christmas Island are fairly well known. It's a small and remote place. We think it an inappropriate place to be holding those coming to Australia seeking asylum, mainly because they are far from places of population and services are limited," she said.

"It's also now concerningly crowded, exacerbating those problems. We have a particular concern about children and young people being held in detention. Our argument [has] always been that if it is necessary at all to detain a child or a young person, it should be for the shortest possible period of time."

The 2010 report follows a similar report released in 2009, which came off the back of Branson's first visit to Christmas Island. In that report, numerous recommendations were made to the Australian Government, including the cessation of the use of Christmas Island as a place of immigration detention, and the adoption of minimum standards for the conditions and treatment of detainees in accordance with international human rights standards.

Branson said the AHRC also plans to release a report within the next few weeks on the conditions inside Darwin's Northern Immigration Detention Centre.

Claire Chaffey

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