Commonwealth Ombudsman and Human Rights Commissioner’s Joint Statement on the use of Hotel APODs
Today, the Commonwealth Ombudsman, Iain Anderson, and Human Rights Commissioner, Lorraine Finlay, published a joint statement on the use of hotels as alternative places of detention (APODs) for people in immigration detention.
The Statement draws on observations and recommendations made in public reports prepared by the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman in its capacity as the National Preventive Mechanism (NPM) for Commonwealth places of detention under the United Nations Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).
Mr Anderson said: “We are concerned with the use of hotel APODs as long-term places of detention, that is longer than four weeks.”
“This Statement provides guidance on the short-term use of hotel APODs, including access to open‑air exercise, access to meaningful programs and activities, and the need to ensure medical and welfare services are of the same standard as those provided in other immigration detention facilities”.
Commissioner Finlay said: “The Commission supports the observations made in the statement and considers that those in hotel APODs should be afforded the same human rights protections as those detained in other immigration detention settings. The Commission will release its own observations on hotel APODs later this year.”
While there has been a reduction in the number of people held in hotel APODs in recent times, this Statement remains relevant for those continuing to be accommodated in such facilities and can be used to guide future consideration of the use of hotel APODs.
In its role as Commonwealth NPM, the Office of the Commonwealth Ombudsman will continue to monitor the use of hotel APODs and engage constructively with the Department of Home Affairs to address concerns regarding the treatment and conditions of those detained in these facilities.
The joint statement can be found here.