Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) has called on the Minister for Immigration and Border Protection to ensure dignity, wellbeing and personal security of the individuals living in detention centres is upheld.
CSSV has written an open letter to Peter Dutton signed by a number of member agencies. The statement, released yesterday, said member agencies of the umbrella organisation have frequently reported on the cruel behaviour and procedures that have developed since Australian Border Force took over supervision of Australian detention centres in 2015.
"In one case, a 26-year-old woman was taken in handcuffs from the Maribyrnong Detention Centre to a major Melbourne hospital, suffering a severe renal infection. During the three days she was treated at the hospital, she was handcuffed to the bed except when going to the toilet, despite there being two guards in her room the whole time," the letter stated.
Denis Fitzgerald, Executive Director, CSSV, said: “People seeking asylum in Australia have a right to fair and supportive treatment if they are detained pending resolution of their claims.” He said the Australian community, including the Catholic community, expect no less of the government.
The statement continued: "If there is a need to temporarily detain people seeking asylum, they should be accommodated in non-correctional settings designed to ensure their comfort, wellbeing and personal security. Detention should not be used as a punishment and people seeking asylum should not be treated as criminals.
"Catholic Social Services welcomes the government’s pending ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, and calls for the Protocol to be fully applied and implemented in all immigration detention facilities, including those in Australia."
Brigidine Asylum Seeker Support Program, CatholicCare, Edmund Rice Community and Refugee Services, Jesuit Social Services, Melbourne Catholic Migrant and Refugee Office, Missionary Sisters of Service and St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria contributed to and supported the statement.
Call for humane conditions in detention centres (Catholic Social Services Victoria)
Letter to Minister Dutton (Catholic Social Services Victoria)