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Archbishop Driver: "Extended detention immoral and abusive"

Posted on: May 15, 2013 3:04 PM
The Manus Island processing centre
Photo Credit: DIAC images
Related Categories: Adelaide, armn, Australia, refugees & migrants

Adelaide’s Anglican Archbishop Jeffrey Driver has urged the Federal Government to ensure children are not housed at a new permanent detention facility on Manus Island.

Plans for the new centre were announced by the Prime Minister this week.

“Children should be processed onshore, where there are better medical, psychological and educational support services,” the Archbishop said.

“Reports about the offshore processing centres continue to reveal their inadequacies. Asylum seekers on Manus are currently housed in tents and dilapidated buildings on the remote island, which is infested with malaria and has poor sanitation, limited drinking water and unreliable electricity and medical supplies.

“The Australian Human Rights Commission and medical experts have called for Manus Island to be closed but if that cannot happen then at the very least appropriate health and safety requirements must be put in place there.”

Archbishop Driver said the possibility of “further traumatising traumatised people” during detention at offshore centres was increased by the length of stay.

“The time in these centres should be minimised to something like six weeks for essential health and security checks. Issues that result in delayed security checks need to be addressed.

“The so called ‘no benefit’ approach to the length of stay in detention is inhumane. It uses victims to address the crimes of perpetrators. This is immoral and abusive. It assumes access to orderly processes and “queues”. In the chaotic world of the refugee, this is nonsense.

“We need to remember that the vast majority of these people have their claims validated and they end up making their home in Australia. What are we doing to them in the mean time?”

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