Friday 12th August 2016 - 12:17 pm

Lawyers seek protection for detainees

by Alan Thornhill


Australian lawyers are leading a campaign to protect people held in detention centres like Nauru from abuse.


This follows the leaking, earlier this week, of documents apparently detailing more than 2,000 cases of abuse on Nauru.


The lawyers are being supported, in their campaign, by social service workers and international human rights activists.


They launched their latest action by issuing a two page statement calling for Independent oversight of immigration detention and border protection laws.



In its statement, the Law Council of Australia said it had consistently stated that Australia retains responsibility for the health and safety of asylum seekers transferred to other countries for offshore processing and assessment under the Convention relating to the Status of Refugees.



The council is calling for the appointment of an Independent Inspector of Immigration Detention and an Independent Monitor for Migration Laws.



The Council’s President, Stuart Clark, said both Offices are necessary to monitor the integrity of Australia’s national security framework and ensure confidence in the safety and integrity of  its border protection.


He added that:  “making these key appointments could limit the risk of future harm to asylum seekers held in detention without undermining Australia’s border protection policies.”


Meanwhile the Australian Council of Social Service, the Human Rights Law Centre and the Australian Council for International Development added their voices to calls for better treatment of detainees.


I a joint statement they said:  “the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse has the power to examine the response of the Australian Government and its contractors to child sexual abuse on Nauru.”


They said this had been confirmed today by legal advice received from the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) and the Human Rights Law Centre (HRLC).

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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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