29 Sep 2008

Australian refugee group says all offshore detention centres must go

4:16 pm on 29 September 2008

A group of Australian citizens who conducted the People's Inquiry into Detention says the country should stop processing asylum seekers off-shore.

The group says that evidence from extensive interviews with asylum seekers about their treatment by Australian immigration officials shows that offshore detention involved many abuses of their basic rights.

These asylum seekers were often detained on islands such as Nauru and PNG's Manus as part of Australia's so-called Pacific Solution.

Their experiences are documented in a new book, Human Rights Overboard - Seeking Asylum in Australia.

One of the book's authors, Suzy Latham, says while the new Australian government has dismantled the Pacific Solution, it's ongoing detention system on Christmas Island remains shameful:

"The detention centres are still going to be privatised, people are going to be still mandatorily detained - whether they are a newborn baby or a grandmother or whatever - so we would be advocating for the abolition of mandatory detention; for people who want to make a claim to be brought to the Australian mainland and processed within Australian law and be housed in the community while that's being determined."