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.
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

Photogallery Kyiv: Russian Forces Tightening Grip on East

And new United Nations report documents human rights abuses committed by both sides in conflict More

Locust Swarms Fill Antananarivo Skies

FAO-led control efforts halted plague More

South Africa’s Plan to Move Rhinos May Not Stop Poaching

Experts say international coordination needed to follow the money trail and bring down rhino horn kingpins 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.
Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Weeki
X
August 29, 2014 2:18 AM
The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials To Begin Next Week

The National Institutes of Health says it is launching early stage trials of a vaccine to prevent the Ebola virus, which has infected or killed thousands of people across West Africa. The World Health Organization says Ebola could infect more than 20,000 people across the region by the time the outbreak is over. The epidemic has health experts and governments scrambling to prevent more people from becoming infected. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Asian Bacteria Threatens Florida Orange Trees

Florida's citrus fruit industry is facing a serious threat from a bacteria carried by the Asian insect called psyllid. The widespread infestation again highlights the danger of transferring non-native species to American soil. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Aging Will Reduce Economic Growth Worldwide in Coming Decades

The world is getting older, fast. And as more people retire each year, fewer working-age people will be there to replace them. Bond rating agency Moody’s says that will lead to a decline in household savings; reducing global investments - which in turn, will lead to slower economic growth around the world. But experts say it’s not too late to mitigate the economic impact of the world’s aging populations. Mil Arcega has more.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid