'Mandatory Detention must end': Vinnies

28/09/2010

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council has called on the Federal Government to fulfill the commitment it made in 2008 to use detention in an Immigration Detention Centre only as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time - and to end the detention of children.

St Vincent de Paul Society National Council Chief Executive Officer Dr John Falzon described continued detention of people who pose no danger to the community as 'unjustifiable by any moral standard'.

"We are particularly dismayed by the detention of children. We understand that there are 645 children in detention arrangements in Australia, 448 on the mainland and 197 on Christmas Island," Dr Falzon said.

"In 2008, the Federal Government referred to its changes as a reversal of a shameful chapter in our history. Since then, Professor Patrick McGorry has referred to Detention Centres as factories for producing mental illness."

Dr Falzon said that mandatory detention, especially of children, was an abuse of human rights.

"The members of the St Vincent de Paul Society across Australia have been privileged to stand with, and learn from, the many wonderful people who have sought asylum in our country," he said.

“Now is not the time to move backwards in our nation’s commitment to humanity.”


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