Release detainees at risk from COVID-19

Labor for Refugees strongly supports the position of a number of organisations regarding the urgent need to release immigration detainees in line with recommendations of peak medical bodies and human rights lawyers advising the federal government on their response to COVID-19. In particular, Labor for Refugees endorses the statement made by Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow who has declared that these detainees should be put into community detention where it is safe to do so.  He said that putting people in community detention would enable these people to practise social distancing, as we are all urged to do, and that this must be done as soon as possible.

Commissioner Santow’s position aligns with the joint position of the World Health Organization (WHO), UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the International Organization for Migration (OIM) and UN Commissioner for Human Rights.

The link to Commissioner Santow’s SBS interview, where he clearly sets out his position on this issue and the reasons for it, follows