Mandatory detention and asylum seekers.

As most people would know, asylum seekers who arrive in Australia are subject to rigorous security checks whilst forced to remain in detention. Mandatory detention does not discriminate against age or health, with children and the sick still forced to live indefinitely in detention centres.

For people fleeing persecution, rape, torture, war and trauma, this experience is incredibly damaging. These individuals arrive in Australia, desperate for help, safety and a new life, but instead are exposed to more trauma and treated as criminals.

Australia has recently been awarded an ‘F’ on a report card from the UN when it comes to our treatment of asylum seekers and refugees, largely due to this inhumane experience.

Whilst it is perfectly legal to seek asylum, those who arrive without visas are held in detention until granted a visa, which often takes years.

In this way, Australia violates human rights set out in treaties to which we are a signatory. According to these guidelines, everyone has the right not to be subject to arbitrary detention and children should be detained only as a last resort, and for the shortest time possible. On top of this, anyone who is detained has the right to appeal their detention in court and should have access to legal advice and assistance.

Australia is in direct violation of these treaties. Not only is detention mandatory, it is not time limited and those detained are unable to successfully appeal. While they may seek a judicial review, Australian courts have no authority to release a person from mandatory detention – rendering this process ultimately useless.

Mandatory detention is a damaging, expensive process that is in direct violation of human rights. Australia needs to put a stop to this inhumane practice ASAP to avoid further trauma for those already suffering. Community-based alternatives are a much more humane, compassionate option which allows asylum seekers to contribute to society and move on from the trauma they have escaped.

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3 thoughts on “Mandatory detention and asylum seekers.

  1. freeup2 says:

    Hi there,

    A really fantastic and important blog you have going on. What I struggle to understand is this: since Australia is in fact signatory to the convention, why isn’t there more outcry in our handling of asylum seekers? Your other blog posts demystifying those myths surrounding asylum seekers (90% are genuine refugees – that’s astounding!) makes me really frustrated at the government ‘propaganda’ and mainstream media’s coverage of the issue, they’d have you believe that 90% are in fact ‘economic refugees’. As a country we pride ourselves on how we treat others and our approach to multiculturalism, yet our treatment of refugees is nothing short of a disgrace. You might be interested in this, http://www.law.unsw.edu.au/current-students/beyond-classroom/clinics/human-rights-clinic/projects/asylum-seekers/communication, recently the UNSW Human Rights Clinic filed the first ever international case against Australia’s people smuggling legislation for an Indonesian fisherman – it claims Australia violated his rights to a fair trial and freedom from arbitrary detention – he served a significantly longer mandatory jail sentence. The Law School’s clinic is doing some fantastic work for migrant workers, refugee and asylum seeker rights – check it out if you have time! It’s quite ironic though, here are people who are genuinely in need and amongst the most vulnerable in the world, they flee to our ‘great’ country as a means of gaining a new life and in the hopes that they will be treated, at the very least, like humans. Yet instead of helping them we punish them and lock them up like prisoners. Sorry for the rant! There’s just so much to say. Awesome blog, btw!

    • Thank you so much for the comment! You make some really amazing points. Regarding the lack of public outcry in regards to our treatment of asylum seekers – I think much of it has to do with ignorance. Unfortunately it’s a vicious cycle. The government has an agenda –> the media pushes that agenda (particularly Murdoch media) –> Australians trust what they read/see/hear in the media –> the government is thus allowed to continue doing whatever they like to help their agenda. And the few who are informed on the topic and criticise the government are generally brushed off and labelled as ‘greenies’. Thanks so much for that link. I’ve visited the clinic website before but never seen that particular story – they really are doing some great things. You’re right about the irony. It’s truly saddening. Unfortunately, despite the fact that we are one of the most fortunate countries in the world, with plenty to go around and the ability to help those less fortunate, it seems many of us never learnt to share. Australia is the obnoxious child snatching the toy off another who wants to play with it, because ‘we had it first’.

      Never apologise for a rant! Ranting is the basis of my whole campaign! Thanks heaps again for your input!

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