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Submission to the National

Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from

the Law Council of Australia


22 May 2002

Dr Sev Ozdowski

Human Rights Commissioner

Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission

GPO Box 5218

SYDNEY NSW 1042

Dear Dr Ozdowski

National Inquiry

into Children in Immigration Detention

I refer to your invitation

in December 2001 to make a submission in this Inquiry. I regret that the

Law Council has not been able, with its current workload, to prepare a

dedicated submission to you in respect of your current inquiry. It would

be remiss of the Law Council, however, not to make its general views known

to you.

The Law Institute

of Victoria has provided the Law Council with a copy of the Institute

President's letter to you dated 8 May 2002. The Law Institute's views

and the Law Council's views on children in immigration detention are consistent.

In March 2002, the

Law Council unanimously resolved to call on the Federal Government to

abolish the current policy of mandatory detention of all asylum seekers

who arrive in this country without a valid visa and to replace that policy

with a policy of a limited form of reviewable detention.

I am enclosing a

copy of the full text of the resolution together with the Schedule referred

to in paragraph 4. The Law Council is particularly concerned about the

possible breaches of the Convention on the Rights of the Child in respect

of children in immigration detention.

Whilst the Law Council

is not in a position to provide you with a more detailed consideration

of the Council position of the detention of children, the Law Institute

of Victoria has endorsed the Legal Section of the submission by the KIDS

(Kids in Detention Story). The Law Council is of the view that the

KIDS's submission clearly sets out the possible legal issues relating

to children in detention.

I trust you are able

to take our general comments into account. If you need further amplification

of the Law Council's position, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Christine S Harvey

Deputy Secretary-General

Last

Updated 9 January 2003.