In January 2020 and in preparation for the visit of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (SPT) to Australia, the Australia OPCAT Network prepared a comprehensive report on the implementation of OPCAT in our country. A major chapter of that report was dedicated to the state of immigration detention. It looked at legal and policy frameworks for immigration detention as well as the conditions of detention facilities and highlighted key issues of concern. Unfortunately, the SPT was unable to carry out its visit to Australia in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The SPT recently announced that it would visit Australia in October 2022. Pursuant to this announcement, the Refugee Council of Australia decided to submit another report to provide an update on the state of immigration detention in Australia since 2020.
As one of the authors of the earlier report, we believe the issues identified in the 2020 report still stand. Unfortunately, there have been no improvements to the conditions of detention in Australia. Immigration detention remains mandatory and indefinite and people in detention continue to not have access to judicial review of the decisions to detain them. Some of the issues highlighted in this update include: increase in average length of detention; issues related to the management of COVID-19 risks in immigration detention; more extensive and frequent use of APODs; consistent delays in release of detention statistics, and Government’s response to scrutiny. We have also put forward a list of detention facilities that we believed the SPT should visit.
Read the report in full: