UNHCR statement on Australia’s High Court decision on indefinite detention
UNHCR welcomes Australia’s High Court decision yesterday. While we must wait for the judgement to determine its full implications, the decision has the potential to begin to align Australia’s immigration detention practices with international law.
UNHCR has expressed grave concerns over the last decades about arbitrary and indefinite detention in Australia. Only this week, we have visited detention centres and observed the dire effects that detention can have on refugees and stateless persons, some of whom have been detained in excess of 10 years.
Regardless of whether someone has committed a crime in the past and for which they have served their sentence, the High Court has now made clear that immigration detention must not be punitive.
UNHCR will continue to advocate for those under our mandate who remain in detention.
UNHCR hopes this is the first step in creating a system of detention in which people are only deprived of their liberty as a measure of last resort and when absolutely necessary.
In Canberra, Charlotta Lomas, [email protected] +61 424 545 569