06 February 2012

Amnesty International to inspect Australian immigration detention centres

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Four representatives from Amnesty International have been sent on a fact finding mission to the Australian immigration department's detention centres to inspect the conditions at the facilities.

Australian immigration

Trouble at some of Australia's immigration centres in recent weeks has prompted Amnesty International to begin an inspection.

The Australian immigration department has come under fire in recent weeks due to reports of overcrowding, protests and even escapes at centres across the country.

Now, a team of inspectors from the human rights organisation will spend 12 days inspecting a number of facilities in the hope of gaining an insight into the running of the facilities.

"This is really a fact-finding mission for Amnesty International, so we'll be looking out for things as we go," said Alex Pagliaro, one of the inspectors.

"But obviously we'll be keen to see the situation of families and children that are in these facilities, and we'll be very interested in the mental health of the clients in the detention centres."

The group has so far spent the weekend at the Curtin Detention Centre in north Western Australia which currently holds over 1,000 men and intends to spend the next 12 days touring a number of other facilities.

Ms Pagliaro said that the Australian government had been very accommodating in meeting Amnesty International's requests and had not prevented the group getting access or experiencing life in the centres.

"The [Australian immigration] department has been great helping us get into the centre, providing translators and private meeting rooms and with pretty much free run of most of the centres,"

"So that's what we're looking forward to," said Ms Pagliaro. "Being able to see for ourselves what life is like for people inside an Australian detention centre."

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