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The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014

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In violating children’s basic rights, we seriously compromise their mental and emotional health and normal development

No country other than Australia mandates indefinite closed detention of children arriving on their shores. By the end of January 2014, over 1000 children in Australia had been held in immigration detention for more than 7 months on average.1 On 3 February 2014, as President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, I announced a national inquiry into children in immigration detention.

The Inquiry investigated the policy and practice of detaining asylum seeker children which had been supported by both Labor and Coalition governments over an 18-month period, from January 2013 to September 2014.

    “Medical professional organisations …
    have accordingly taken a public stance
        against mandatory detention”

The aim of the Inquiry was not to reconsider the Human Rights Commission’s already formed legal views of immigration detention, but to investigate how the health, wellbeing and development of children was being affected by life in detention. Through visits to 11 different detention centres, the Commission conducted interviews with 1129 children and parents in immigration detention in Australia, using a standardised questionnaire.…