Seeking asylum in the face of persecution is a fundamental human right. The system of arbitrary mandatory detention operating under Australian immigration law since 1992 has impacted on more than 15,000 adults and children, many with traumatic experiences in their country of origin. Restrictions on entry to the mainland, policies of "deterrence", including prolonged detention in remote camps, and inadequate responses to trauma and mental health needs have contributed to mental deterioration and suffering of asylum-seekers. The responses of mental health professionals, lawyers, human rights advocates, and community groups to the detention system have focused on the need to protect the right to seek asylum and the need for a humane response to asylum-seekers.
Refugee Survey Quarterly Vol. 27, Issue 3, p. 110-127