The United Nations says Australia's indefinite detention of 46 refugees amounts to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.
Its human rights committee says Australia should release the refugees, and offer compensation and rehabilitation.
The detained are mainly Tamils from Sri Lanka.
They have been recognised as refugees, but have been refused visas to stay in Australia because they are deemed a security risk.
All have been held in detention for at least 2½ years.
The UN committee says Australia is obliged to release them, and take steps to prevent similar violations in future.