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Australia may compensate immigrants detained illegally

[JURIST] Kevin Andrews [official website], Australia's minister for immigration and citizenship, said Monday that the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) [official website] is considering remedial action [press release], including providing financial compensation to 247 individuals found to be wrongfully detained or deported by the DIAC between 1993 and 2007. Andrews' statement follows the release of the fourth and final report [materials; press release] by the Commonwealth Ombudsman [official website] documenting the DIAC's inadequate procedural safeguards that led to the illegal detention, which ranged from several hours to up to six years. Ombudsman John McMillan [official profile] accused the DIAC of maintaining a "low standard of proof to detain a person, yet requiring a high standard of proof to authorize a person's release." Andrews thanked the ombudsman for "helping in the process of change and reform" and said that the DIAC will write to the individuals to inform them of the report and the review of their cases.

In 2005, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees [official website] criticized Australia for its strict policy of detaining individuals [JURIST report] deemed to be illegal immigrants, refugees, or asylum seekers, who can spend years at remote detention facilities while their applications for refugee status are processed. AFP has more.

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