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JRS worried about asylum seekers already detained in Australia

As Australia concentrates on keeping asylum seekers off its shores, the Jesuit Refugee Service has expressed concern at those already here who remain locked in the country's "repressive and punitive" detention centres.

"The high incidence of depression, anxiety and despair among inmates and the failure to deal with these symptoms makes later settling in the Australian, or any other, community, very difficult," according to an article in yesterday's edition of the JRS publication Dispatches, published in Rome. "There is particular concern for the 94 unaccompanied children in detention (as at August this year)."

At Villawood detention centre in Sydney, which JRS Australia director Fr Nguyen Van Cao regularly visits, conditions remain "repressive and punitive".

"Security is very tight," he said. "The public address system is on between 7:00 am and 9:00 pm every day and visiting is difficult and restricted. Several cases before the Refugee Tribunal are particularly troubling: there are reports of physical violence, serious injury inadequately treated and the mixing up of documents such as passports."

JRS Australia
JRS International