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Jesuit centre calls for independent inquiry into management of detention centres

The Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre has joined other calls for an independent inquiry into the management of Australia's immigration detention centres.

An outcry from concerned Australians followed Monday night's airing on ABC Television of the Four Corners investigation About Woomera. Among other things, the program claimed a 12-year-old boy was sexually assaulted and then denied medical attention, and that a nurse's report on the incident had been torn up by management.

Director Sr Patty Fawkner said that after seeing the program, "we know a little more.  And what we know is cause of acute concern."

"We know that the current system of mandatory detention in Australia is not working," she said. "Reports from the United Nations down consistently report a failure of duty of care. There is trauma among detainees, a protracted system of assessment, and unacceptable levels of stress among staff."

Sr Fawkner said Government concern with security issues must be matched by a corresponding care of detainees and accountability from those who administer government policy. 

She argued that there is "an inherent conflict of interest" in for-profit private companies, such as Australasian Correctional Management, running Australian detention centres. 

"There is more we need to know about the management of Australia's immigration detention centres," she said. "This can only come from an independent inquiry."


Woomera management investigated (The Age)
Immigration Minister | Border Protection
ABC Four Corners: About Woomera
Uniya Jesuit Social Justice Centre

21 May 2003