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Australian immigration reform prompts detainees to attempt suicide, woundings

[JURIST] Thirteen refugees being held in immigration detention centers in Australia inflicted wounds upon themselves Saturday, protesting recent reforms in Australia's immigration policies [JURIST report] that stop short of freeing all "unauthorised arrivals" currently imprisoned in refugee camps. The Australian Immigration Department [official website] confirmed that one woman had attempted suicide and a dozen men cut themselves on razor wire surrounding the Villawood Detention Center in Sydney, but none of the 13 have died. Anti-detention advocacy groups such as the Refugee Council [official website] have criticized Australia's immigration policy as unduly restrictive, granting only 15% of asylum applications in 1998 [statistics page]. The Australian government's Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has already launched an inquiry into the practice of detaining undocumented children. AFP has more. Read a report by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention's Report on its recent visit to Australian detention camps for immigrants here [PDF].

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