Submission to Inquiry into the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020

PIAC recommends that the Bill not be passed. The proposed powers to prohibit mobile phones in
immigration detention and to enforce bans with invasive search and seizure powers are not
supported by evidence. They are likely to have a significant, negative impact on the mental health
and wellbeing of people in immigration detention and their ability to access legal assistance and
other support.

PIAC emphasises that the Commonwealth government has a non-delegable duty of care to
provide reasonable health care to the persons it holds in detention.  That duty includes an
obligation of reasonable care to avoid harm to the detainee whether that harm be inflicted by a
third person or by the detainee himself or herself.

PIAC’s Asylum Seeker Health Rights Project aims to secure humane standards of medical and
mental health care for asylum seekers in Australia’s onshore immigration detention centres.
Since 2016, we have worked with immigration detainees and advocates in respect of physical
and mental health issues facing that population. We represent clients in litigation, complaints to
various agencies and work on law reform.

Based on our experience and expertise, our submission focuses on the impact of the proposed
Bill on the health and wellbeing of asylum seekers in detention.

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