Asylum Seekers and Detention

21 February 2014

Professor Ben Saul
Professor Ben Saul

Detention has long been the norm in Australia too. But this week the Abbott government quietly confirmed its very worst form - indefinite detention of recognised refugees, writes Professor Ben Saul.

"This week the Abbott government failed to release more than 50 refugees indefinitely detained - from Villawood in Sydney to Maribyrnong in Melbourne - because of ASIO security assessments, as requested by the United Nations.

"Most of them have been locked up without charge or court order for four to five years.

"Last year the United Nation's highest human rights tribunal found that Australia was illegally detaining the refugees, denying them judicial protection and the right to know the case against them, and treating them in a cruel, inhuman and degrading manner.

"The UN accepted that detention was making people mentally ill, destroying families and children, and was not necessary for security.

"Five of the refugees have even attempted suicide, by hanging, electrocution, poisoning, or cutting, too traumatised to go on.

"No one deserves to live like that, without hope, life ebbing away behind the razor wire."

Contact: Greg Sherington

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