News / Asia

Australia to Send Children Asylum Seekers to Remote Detention Camp

Asylum seekers hoping to reach Australia, wait in a police station in Surabaya , East Java province July 29, 2012.
Asylum seekers hoping to reach Australia, wait in a police station in Surabaya , East Java province July 29, 2012.
TEXT SIZE - +
Phil Mercer
— The Australian government has decided to send children seeking asylum to a remote outback detention camp.  The move to incarcerate children and their families has been condemned by health professionals and refugee groups.

A steady flow of asylum seekers arriving by boat has caused overcrowding in Australia’s immigration detention network. To ease pressure on the system, the Labor government says unaccompanied minors and families with children will be detained at the Curtin immigration center, about 40 kilometers from the West Australian port of Derby.

The remote camp has been used to hold only single adult males who arrived by boat seeking asylum. Officials say that women and children will be incarcerated there for "the shortest time possible."

It is a promise that has been welcomed by professor Louise Newman, from Australia’s College of Psychiatrists, who is a member of the government's new Immigration Health Advisory Group. But she is worried about young asylum seekers being held at Curtin.

“We still have major concerns about children going to isolated and very remote processing centers," Newman said. "It would obviously be preferable if any families and children and unaccompanied minors could be housed in metropolitan areas.”

As Canberra prepares to send children to the facility, mental health personnel warn the decision could cause irreparable damage to young asylum seekers.  

The facility has had a difficult history.  It was opened by Australia’s former conservative government in 1999; but was shut three years later following serious disturbances, incidents of self-harm among inmates and a mass escape.

At the time, human rights campaigners described Curtin as the “most brutal” of Australia's immigration camps.

Australia automatically detains all asylum seekers while their claims are processed.  Children are often held in community facilities or in low-security units within detention centers.

Figures supplied by the Refugee Council of Australia say that between October 2012 and February of this year, the average length of time spent by adults and children in detention increased from 74 days to 141 days.

The council says that the number of children held behind the razor wire is higher than ever.  At the end of February, 1062 children were in "closed detention facilities."

In recent years, Australia has granted about 13,000 refugee visas, mostly to asylum seekers from Iraq, Burma and Afghanistan.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: den from: wa
May 07, 2013 8:14 PM
When is some political party going to stand up and show some guts?, send all these so called boat people back to where they came from, and i mean "ALL" They are nothing but a burden on the Australian tax payer, We put them in detention and straight away they start demanding this and that, the next thing they will try to do is change Australian law and our way of living- They are not wanted or needed by most genuine Aussies, SEND THEM ALL BACK, We only need to do this a few times and the message will get through.Spend the money wasted on them on worthwhile, things like health, education, aged care ,animal welfare,


by: Dingos Breakfast
May 07, 2013 8:05 PM
I hope the Australian Government looks after these desperate people better than they look after the grandchildren of ANZAC's.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid