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Greens invite UNHCR chief to inspect a detention centre

The Australian Greens have invited UNHCR High Commissioner, Antonio Guterres, to visit a detention centre when he's in the country this month to see conditions for himself.

"I've written to the High Commissioner explaining it is crucial he see first-hand how Australia's mandatory detention practices cause physical and mental health damage to children and adults," Greens' immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.

"I hope he can spare time in his busy schedule because Australia is the only Refugee Convention signatory which detains people indefinitely in this manner simply because they arrive by a boat, rather than a plane.

"The Greens have requested a meeting with the High Commissioner to express our concerns about children and unaccompanied minors in detention facilities, particularly in remote areas such as Christmas Island and Leonora in Western Australia.

"We also are keen to discuss UNHCR research showing assessments of asylum seekers' claims are much cheaper if done in the community compared to keeping them in detention.

"I also want to share how Australia can take a leadership role in the region and work more closely with the UN agency and our neighbours to reach multilateral agreements. These are superior to bilateral ones such as with Malaysia or Nauru which make asylum seekers someone else's problem."


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