Christmas Island Detention in Australia overloaded

Posted by admin on Mar 15th, 2010

Mark Dodd, The Australian, March 15, 2010 12:00AM

IMMIGRATION detention on Christmas Island has almost reached bursting point, with the arrival on Saturday of the 24th asylum-seeker boat this year. The 35 asylum-seekers on the boat intercepted northwest of Christmas Island are understood to be Afghans, and there were two Indonesian crew on board. All have been taken to Christmas Island. There are now only 151 spare beds for a facility designed for 800 but now accommodating 2042 people. This year 1121 asylum-seekers have arrived and 64 crew members have been arrested.

Yesterday, opposition border protection spokesman Michael Keenan said the government could no longer cite security concerns in Sri Lanka and Afghanistan as “push factors” behind the surge in asylum-seekers because the UN had acknowledged an easing of tensions in both countries.

Overcrowding meant the government would now have to plan for processing asylum-seekers on the mainland, he warned. “Clearly, that means they are going to have to resort to onshore processing, which is something they promised they would not do,” he said.

Nearly 90 per cent of refugee claims are upheld and about 648 protection visas have been issued so far this year.

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