November 03, 2012
Asylum seeker advocates say two children have recently attempted self-harm at a Darwin immigration detention centre.
The Australian Lawyers Alliance says it understands a 17-year-old attempted self-harm at the Darwin Airport Lodge two weeks ago.
It says it was told yesterday of a second child attempting self-harm at the same facility.
Spokesman Greg Barnes says the centre should be closed down and the families moved into community detention.
“It certainly shows the human cost of detention of people in asylum, but particularly of women and children, is far too great,” he said.
Mr Barnes says the Government must investigate the reports.
“The Commonwealth needs to look to see if it has breached it’s own duty of care to these children,” he said.
The Immigration Department said in a statement that “sadly these events happen from time to time”.
It says all detainees have access to medical and mental health treatment.
The reports come less than a week after 170 detainees at the Nauru detention centre went on a hunger strike after a man tried to self-harm.