Thursday, 13 May 2010

9 Years In Immigration Detention!

In what must be getting on for a worldwide record (it certainly already is in Australia), a woman remains in immigration detention in Australia pending the resolution of her case. Ms X has been in detention for more than nine years, unable to be returned to China even if they give the Australian government the assurances about her future treatment that the government think will be sufficient to resolve her immigration status.

In October 2009, the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) found her extended period of detention, without any substantive judicial review, was arbitrary and therefore breached the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The UNHCR also stated that Australia would further breach its international obligations if it returned Ms X without sufficient assurance from China as to her treatment.

However, it appears unlikely that the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship will get such assurances as has been the case in the past and, even if they did, China has proved less than reliable in similar situations. Therefore, it looks as if Ms X will not be returned to China in the near future or that she will be released from detention either on bail or granted the visa that will entitle her to permanently stay in the country.

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