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Australia: UNHCR position on detention

Briefing notes

Australia: UNHCR position on detention

25 January 2002

Response to a question during the briefing:

UNHCR is concerned about the situation in Australia's Woomera detention centre and we are in daily contact with the Australian government, trying to help in finding a solution. In general, UNHCR opposes detention of asylum seekers, particularly when it is prolonged and when it involves minors, which is the case in Australia.

We do not condone any acts of violence, including acts of self-harm committed by asylum seekers at the Woomera detention centre. However, though deplorable, these acts are a gauge of the degree of desperation of the people who commit them.