Children in immigration detention
The Australian Human Rights Commission has conducted a series of public hearings as part of its inquiry into children in closed immigration detention. For those who recall the Commission’s report on the same topic, published 10 years ago, it may be surprising how little has changed. That report found the immigration detention regime as then applied to children was fundamentally inconsistent with human rights, and that long term detention placed children at high risk of serious mental harm. The environment of closed detention was revealed to be one in which self-harm was so prevalent that children could not avoid witnessing such acts, and children as young as 14 were engaging in self-harm and hunger strikes. Upon tabling its report, the Commission called for an end to the immigration detention of children and weeks later, the Howard government announced that it would release all children and their families from closed facilities.