A hand touching the bars - Australia's Indefinite Detention Laws A hand touching the bars - Australia's Indefinite Detention Laws


UN Raises Concerns Over Australia's Indefinite Detention Laws

#refugee #asylum

Human rights organisations and government watchdogs have harshly criticised Australia's policy of holding refugees and immigrants indefinitely. However, Australia is not the first to experience this as seeking asylum even in Western nations including the UK can be a daunting task.

In contrast to most Western countries, the country does not impose term restrictions on immigration detention, leading to an average detention period of almost two years. Concerns have grown as a result of recent changes to the Migration Act, and the UN has called for a halt to this contentious practice.

Australia's Indefinite Detention Policies Under Scrutiny

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is one of the main groups contesting Australia's rules governing indefinite detention. The UNHCR demanded that time limitations be put in place for immigration detention in its report to a legislative committee. 

The negative impacts of prolonged incarceration on a detainee's health and well-being have been seen by the agency personally. A further indication of the severity of the problem is the distressing figure that over 2000 cases of self-harm occurred in Australian detention facilities over the previous five years.

People in Australia protesting for asylum seekers - Australia's Indefinite Detention Laws

Bipartisan support was needed to enact the Migration Act modifications, but they are currently being reevaluated because of concerns highlighted by experts. Due to the modifications, immigrants and refugees with criminal pasts are in a precarious situation. 

The authority to revoke a person's status as a refugee has been granted to the minister of immigration. They are thus left with only two choices: they can either stay in custody or go back to the nation they fled.

A Call for Alternatives and Resolution

Apart from the UNHCR, numerous organisations that support human rights have called for an end to indefinite detention. These influential organisations contend that Australia should adhere to its international commitments. It should particularly stick to the principle of non-refoulement, which forbids returning refugees to nations where they would risk persecution.

Professor Mary Crock, an international law expert at the University of Sydney, criticizes Australia for politicizing migration and not adequately addressing the issue. She draws attention to a growing propensity to deport people using increasingly sophisticated and automated tools.

Detention for immigration purposes, according to the Department of Home Affairs, is a last option. It emphasised that, if possible, the government prefers to manage non-citizens within the community. Furthermore, it adds that detention is not time-limited and that, depending on several variables, it may end when a person is given a visa or expelled from Australia.


What does Australia's indefinite detention mean?

The practice of holding refugees and immigrants indefinitely without establishing specified time frames for their release results in lengthy detention periods that can last for years.

What effects does prolonged detention have on the well-being of the prisoners?

Detainees' mental and physical health have been found to suffer significantly from long-term immigration detention, and self-harm incidents have been documented in Australian detention institutions.


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