Government Committed To Mandatory Detention On Christmas Island 1

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23rd October 2009, 07:11pm - Views: 830
Government Committed To Mandatory Detention On Christmas Island

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, today welcomed the Australian Human Rights Commission report: Immigration detention and offshore processing on Christmas Island.

The report makes a number of recommendations in relation to Government policy. The Government is committed to maintaining these policies as essential components of strong border control and important elements in ensuring the integrity of Australia's immigration program.

The Labor Party went to the last election with a commitment to maintain a system of mandatory detention and offshore processing on Christmas Island for all irregular maritime arrivals and these commitments are being met.

The Government does not intend to repeal or amend the provisions of the Migration Act relating to excised offshore places or offshore entry persons.

All irregular maritime arrivals are subject to mandatory detention at Christmas Island while health, identity and security checks are undertaken and claims for asylum are assessed.

The Christmas Island detention centre was built as a high security facility by the previous Government and is currently used to detain single men while they undergo health, security and identity checks. It is an integral part of Australia's border protection regime as the main, secure immigration detention facility available to house irregular maritime arrivals.

It is Rudd Government policy that no child be held in an immigration detention centre and there are no children detained in the Christmas Island Immigration Detention Centre or any other detention centre. Children, and where possible their families, are housed in community accommodation. The construction camp, where some children are housed on Christmas Island, is not an immigration detention centre. It was originally established for construction workers on the island and includes a range of recreational facilities and ensuite rooms.

Under the Rudd Government, asylum seekers on Christmas Island receive legal advice and assistance, access to independent review of unfavourable decisions, and external scrutiny by the Immigration Ombudsman. While there is no statutory obligation to process asylum claims on Christmas Island within a particular timeframe, the vast majority of claims are being dealt with in about 100 days.

It is only right that we should treat people who seek our protection humanely and it is right that we meet our international obligations under the UN Refugee Convention. People found to be refugees will be granted Australia's protection. If they are found not to be owed Australia's protection, they will be removed.

Media Contact:
Simon Dowding
(02)6277-7860 or

SOURCE: Minister for Immigration and Citizenship

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