October 31, 2013
Government to implement ombudsman’s recommendations on self harm and suicide
Five people have died in immigration detention in the past year.
The immigration department’s annual report does not say whether they were all seeking asylum, but 83% of people in detention are asylum seekers who arrived in Australia by boat.
The 2012-13 report refers to the Queensland coroner’s investigation into the death of asylum seeker Meqdad Hussain, who took his own life at the Scherger immigration detention centre at Weipa on March 17, 2011.
It said the department would implement recommendations in the commonwealth immigration ombudsman’s report on self harm and suicide in detention centres, released in May.
The annual report figures show 25,724 asylum seekers arrived by boat in 2012-13 and there were 38,147 people in onshore, offshore and community detention – up from 19,370 the previous year.
The department had received a small, unspecified number of compensation claims related to harm suffered in immigration detention and ongoing mental illness.
There were 1319 children, including 318 unaccompanied minors, in community detention and 58 babies were born to asylum seeker parents in community detention in 2012-13.
Meanwhile, 68,480 foreign workers were granted 457 visas during that time and Tasmania and South Australia accounted for the highest growth rates in these visas while demand in WA and Queensland slumped.
India, the UK, Ireland and the Philippines were the top four countries 457 visa holders came from.
There was a 9% increase in the number of Chinese students seeking visas to study in Australia but a 26.5% decrease in the number of Indian students applying.
* Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Multicultural Mental Health Australia athttp://www.mmha.org.au.