Thursday, October 6, 2022

Australia should reduce numbers in Refugees’ detention centers

The Australian Human Rights Commission urged the government to reduce the COVID-19 risk for refugees’ in detention centers. Government have to reduce the number of people imprisoned in overcrowded facilities. While Britain, Canada and the United States reduced the number of people in immigration detention centers by 39%, 66% and 69% respectively. But Australia has increased by 12%.

According to the report, the centers are overcrowded, with bunk beds in shared bedrooms as well as bathrooms. It is making physical distancing impossible which causing spread of COVID-19. The report comes amid public protests against the treatment of a family, who had brought to Christmas Island in 2018. The family, whose two daughters were born in Australia, have now transferred to community detention in Perth.

Parliament passed a law allowing offshore prisoners to receive emergency medical treatment in Australia. Therefore, Government has announced it will reopen Christmas Island in 2019. However, the Commission believes that reopening the North West Point Detention Center on Christmas Island is not an appropriate solution. The island is remote, isolated, and lacks complex health facilities, which is even more risky during a pandemic.

The Commission also found that many people detained in countries of immigration had pre-existing health conditions. The percentage of people vulnerable to COVID-19 is so high. It has the potential to be catastrophic. Pandemics can be mitigated, but we’ve seen outbreaks in closed environments like nursing homes can become catastrophic and block entire cities.

No Operational Quarantine in Refugees’ detention centers?

The PIAC filed a formal complaint on behalf of 14 detainees last year about the risk of the coronavirus.  It said that it was very worrying that the problem persisted. The Commission questioned the implementation of a two-week “operational quarantine” for detainees returning from outside.

The government has an obligation to care for the people they imprison. Given the high risk of detention, we urge the government to accelerate the vaccination of those detained at immigration. Also urge them to take immediate action to improve COVID safety, protect detainees, staff and the general public.

Read Also: Denmark wants to relocate Asylum seekers outside Europe

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