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Australia’s detention policies

Who monitors detention in Australia?


Red Cross

Australian Red Cross, through its Immigration Detention Program, has been visiting immigration detention facilities under formal and informal arrangements with federal governments since 1993.

Red Cross’ Humanitarian Observers assess and monitor the general conditions of detention as well as the treatment of people held in the detention network. They provide opportunities for people in detention to discuss their circumstances and voice their concerns.

The Red Cross engages in confidential advocacy with the Department of Immigration and the Australian Government.

Contact: NAT_IDP@redcross.org.au


The Commonwealth Ombudsman inspects immigration detention centres, including Christmas Island, and other places of immigration detention.

The Ombudsman monitors conditions and services, assess services against immigration values and obligations, monitors assessment processes, manages complaints from detainees and interviews detainees who have been detained for more than six months.

The Ombudsman writes six-month review reports about each detainee and reports on the appropriateness of the person’s detention arrangements. After a person is detained for more than two years the Ombudsman must review their case and write a two-year review report.

  • Phone: 1300 362 072 (calls from mobile phones at mobile phone rates)
  • Fax: (02) 6276 0123
  • SMS: 0413 COM OMB (0413 266 662) (standard carrier rates apply)
  • ombudsman@ombudsman.gov.au
  • Post: GPO Box 442, CANBERRA ACT 2601
  • Or make a complaint here

Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

The Commission has monitored and reported on the conditions for people in immigration detention in Australia for over 17 years.

The Commission’s work on immigration detention involves visiting detention facilities, investigating complaints and conducting national inquiries.

The Commission publishes reports, makes submissions about proposed laws, comments in the media and raises public awareness.

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR visits Australia’s immigration detention centres to monitor whether the treatment of asylum-seekers in detention is in accordance with international standards, and provides recommendations to the Australian Government in this regard.

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