Wednesday, 20 August 2014 - 8:02
Australia to free children from immigration detention centres
The Australian government said it would release hundreds of children including children from Sri Lankan from immigrant detention centres while their asylum applications are being processed.
Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said the decision applies to children under 10 who arrived before July 19th, 2013 and are held in mainland detention centres.
Morrison said the government hoped to transfer the children and their families into so-called residential detention by the end of the year.
They would be given access to schools, healthcare, orientation and English-language programmes.
Some 870 children are among the thousands of immigrants being detained on the mainland and offshore on Nauru and Christmas islands.
A national inquiry into their welfare recently documented abuse and neglect of children in detention centres.
People from Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka are among those seeking refuge in Australia.
Children on Nauru include around 50 minors who are among a group of 157 Tamil Sri Lankan asylum seekers who are at the centre of a High Court challenge over the government’s authority to detain asylum seekers on the high seas and send them to another country.