13 Apr 2015

Concern over Aus bill for use of force in immigration

3:06 pm on 13 April 2015

An asylum seeker advocate says a proposed law change could allow people in immigration detention to be exposed to excessive force and degrading treatment.

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Asylum seekers at Manus detention centre during protets. Photo: Supplied by Refugee Action Coalition

The Australian government is seeking to make immigration officers largely immune from liability for using force on detainees, if it is believed necessary to protect others in detention or maintain good order.

The Migration Amendment (Maintaining the Good Order of Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2015 comes amid repeated incidents of unrest at Canberra's detention centres in Papua New Guinea.

Ben Pynt from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network has raised concern over the bill.

"The government proposes to meet mental vulnerability and growing distress inside detention centres with the statutory increase allowance for the use of force. We don't think this is an appropriate way to manage people with mental vulnerabilities and we are very concerned that basically the government is removing most channels of oversight from the detention centre process."

Ben Pynt from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network.