27 May 2011

More pressure on govt over conditions at detention centre

9:46 am on 27 May 2011

The Australian government is under more pressure over its immigration policies.

The Australian Human Rights Commission has issued a scathing report on conditions at the Villawood Detention Centre in Sydney, saying that some detainees thought often of suicide and self-harm, and some had swallowed detergents and chemicals.

It said their prolonged detention was causing serious mental problems and noted that some detainees had sewed their lips together in protest at their treatment.

The BBC reports there have been six deaths in Australia's detention centre network, over the past nine months, five of which appeared to be suicide.

There have also been two major riots in the past six weeks, first at the Christmas Island offshore detention centre and then at Villawood.

But the BBC reports a call by the commission for an end to mandatory detention is unlikely to happen as border protection is a major issue in Australian politics.