19 Apr 2010

Reopening of refugee centre draws flak

8:57 pm on 19 April 2010

The United Nations Refugee Agency says it is deeply troubled by the Australian government's decision to open an immigration detention centre in remote Western Australia.

The government is upgrading the former Curtain air base to house 300 Afghan and Sri Lankan asylum-seekers who have had their refugee applications suspended.

The agency's regional spokesperson, Richard Tull, says the health of the detainees is likely to suffer.

Other refugee groups have also criticised the reopened centre as being too remote and inaccessible.

Kate Gauthier from the Refugee Council of Australia says the centre will need to be rebuilt since many of the buildings were badly damaged during riots eight yeas ago.

She says proper services will have to be provided as well.

The Curtin facility was decommissioned in 2002 after riots and reports of violence and detainee mistreatment.