Accessibility links

Breaking News

Migrant Children Freed on Australia's Mainland

FILE - Protesters react as they hold placards and listen to speakers during a rally in support of refugees in central Sydney, Australia, Oct. 19, 2015. Australia said on April 3, 2016, it is no longer detaining asylum-seeking children on its mainland. 

Australia said it is no longer detaining asylum-seeking children on its mainland.

The move means the migrant children have been transferred to community detention on the mainland and can move about freely as their refuge applications are processed.

Asylum-seekers who try to reach Australia by boat are sent to detention camps in Papua New Guinea and the remote Pacific island of Nauru. They are blocked from being resettled in Australia, even if found to be refugees.

Doctors and whistleblowers said the conditions of the detention centers have left many migrant children struggling with mental health issues.

Asylum-seeking children and adults on the mainland have been brought there from the detention centers for medical reasons.

More than 200 asylum-seekers on the mainland were due to be deported to Nauru, but a campaign of protests has delayed the deportations.

While Australia has defended its immigration policies, human rights groups have been harshly critical of the country's policies and the conditions of its detention centers.

Some material for this report came from AP and AFP.