Home arrow News arrow Department of Immigration and Citizenship apologises for breach of human rights to former detainee
Friday, 31 October 2014
Department of Immigration and Citizenship apologises for breach of human rights to former detainee PDF Print E-mail
The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) today acknowledged the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) report regarding the detention of Ahmed El-Masri and has extended its unreserved apology for the breach of his human rights.“We take this matter very seriously,” a DIAC spokeswoman said.“In line with the AHRC’s recommendations, departmental processes have been amended to require staff to consider relevant case law when assessing whether a person is unlawful and should be detained.”

The report’s recommendation to pay Mr El-Masri compensation will be considered as part of his ongoing legal action against the department which also relates to his detention.

“It is worth noting that this case predates the extensive reforms that have taken place to detention policies and processes following the Palmer and Comrie reports in 2005,” the spokeswoman said.

As part of ongoing detention reforms, in July last year the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship and announced the government’s key seven immigration detention values which will guide and drive new detention policy and practice into the future.

“The government’s risk-based approach to immigration detention commits us to detention as a last resort for the shortest practicable period and in the least restrictive environment appropriate to risk,” the spokeswoman said.

The AHRC report found that the placement of Mr El-Masri in the management support unit (MSU) was a breach of his human rights. Use of the MSU was closely reviewed as part of the Palmer reforms.

Use of high care units (formerly the MSU) now requires close and careful management of health and welfare considerations and placement for periods exceeding 24 hours requires approval from high-level departmental officers.


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