Australia's Human Rights Commission is launching its first formal inquiry into the effect of immigration detention on children.
The commission says it is concerned that young asylum seekers are often being held in detention for months, or even years.
More than 1000 children are being held by the Australian authorities while their refugee claims are assessed.
The Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he will cooperate with the inquiry, which will canvass the mental health issues and rates of self harm among children in detention, the ABC reports.
But Mr Morrison says the refugees themselves are to blame for the numbers of children behind razor wire, with more than 50,000 people turning up on illegal boats while the Labor Party was in power.