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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
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
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.
Christine S Harvey
Updated 9 January 2003.