Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Doctor urges mandatory detention inquiry

Doctor urges mandatory detention inquiry...

A psychiatrist who has treated immigration detainees says former government ministers should be called to account for the policy of mandatory detention.

Immigration Minister Chris Evans says mandatory detention will stay but with new rules.

Dr Jon Jureidini, of Adelaide's Women's and Children's Hospital, treated detainees over many years from the now-closed Baxter detention centre in South Australia.

He says former prime minister John Howard and former immigration minister Philip Ruddock should face a public inquiry about mandatory detention and the psychological harm it caused.

"The Howard government under Ruddock immigration administration knowingly locked up children for extended periods," he said.

"And they were quite clearly told by many people that this was very seriously damaging the people that were being locked up.

"What needs to happen is that the people who've done the damage need to take responsibility for what they've done."


Mandatory detention changes

The majority of asylum seekers will no longer be detained under major immigration reforms announced by Immigration Minister Chris Evans.

The Government will not completely scrap mandatory detention but Senator Evans says the Department of Immigration will have to justify why a person should be detained.

"A person who poses no danger to the community will be able to remain in the community while their visa status is resolved," Senator Evans said.

Mandatory detention will now apply to three groups that the Minister says pose a risk to the wider community, such as those who have repeatedly breached their visa conditions.

"Once in detention a detainee's case will be reviewed every three months to ensure that the further detention of the individual is justified," Senator Evans said.

Children will also no longer be detained.

Asylum seekers who arrive at Christmas Island will still also be detained for health and security checks and will also continue to be processed at Christmas Island. However, they will now have access to legal assistance.

At present, 385 people are held in immigration detention. Of those, 64 are seeking asylum or waiting for a result from an application for a protection visa.

Refugees highest level in history: UN

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says there are more displaced people in the world than at any time in history, with the bulk of them coming from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Detainees climb Villawood roof in deportation protest

The Department of Immigration has confirmed two Chinese nationals have climbed on to the roof of Sydney's Villawood Detention Centre.

Visas offered to 31 in long detention

The federal government is offering visas to 31 people who have been in immigration detention for more than two years.

Evans unveils new border security measures
Immigration Minister Chris Evans says new border security measures at international airports and sea ports will strengthen Australia's security. The new system will allow immigration officials to assess passengers' data before their flight or ship arrives in Australia.

1000 refugees receive protection, not detention
MOHAMMAD DAWLAT HUSSAIN is among 1000 refugees who can apply for family members to join them in Australia after the Federal Government scrapped temporary protection visas in Tuesday night's budget.

Georgiou repeats call to scrap citizenship test
Liberal backbencher Petro Georgiou says Australia's controversial new citizenship test should not just be reviewed - it should be scrapped altogether. Immigration Minister Chris Evans says he has no plans to abolish the Howard Government-era test, but he is open to making improvements.

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