Australia probes detention of asylum-seeker children
SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia's human rights watchdog launched an inquiry on Monday into the detention of children under punitive government policies banishing asylum-seekers who arrive by boat to remote Pacific camps.
Ms Gillian Triggs, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, said the probe would examine the impact of mandatory detention on more than 1,000 asylum-seeker children being held in immigration facilities in Australia and the more than 100 on far-flung Nauru.
"These are children that, among other things, have been denied freedom of movement, many of whom are spending important developmental years of their lives living behind wire in highly stressful environments," said Ms Triggs.
The inquiry will examine whether Australia is in breach of international child protection obligations and measure progress on the issue over the past decade. A similar investigation was held in 2004 into the then-government's "Pacific Solution" of detaining asylum-seekers arriving by boat on Nauru and Papua New Guinea's Manus Island - a policy aimed at deterring dangerous people-smuggling journeys from Indonesia.