Australia eases mandatory detention rules for illegal immigrants

Australia eases mandatory detention rules for illegal immigrants

[JURIST] To head off a revolt among members of his government over what are increasingly seen as unduly-harsh immigration laws, Australian Prime Minister John Howard [official website] has loosened rules for mandatory detention of immigrants who enter the country without visas. Families with children will now be hosted by the community rather than held in detention centers. The change follows media coverage of a small child suffering from mental health problems [BBC report] who had spent nearly her whole life in a detention center. Amnesty International Australia [advocacy website] praised the changes but has expressed concern over the lack of specificity in the new arrangements. The government is also examining hundreds of cases of possible wrongful detention and Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone [official website] is weighing whether to release details of that inquiry. BBC News has more.