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National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014

Asylum Asylum Seekers and Refugees
Thursday 30 January, 2014

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About the Inquiry

On 3 February 2014 the President of the Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, launched an inquiry into children in closed immigration detention. The purpose of the Inquiry was to investigate the ways in which life in immigration detention affects the health, well-being and development of children. The Inquiry would assess the impact on children by seeking the views of people who were previously detained as children in closed immigration detention and by assessing the current circumstances and responses of children to immigration detention.

For more information, see the Inquiry Discussion Paper.


Terms of Reference for the Inquiry

The President will inquire into the impact of immigration detention on the health, well-being and development of children. The President will assess whether laws, policies and practices relating to children in immigration detention meet Australia’s international human rights obligations, with particular attention to: 

  • the appropriateness of facilities in which children are detained;
  • the impact of the length of detention on children;
  • measures to ensure the safety of children;
  • provision of education, recreation, maternal and infant health services;
  • the separation of families across detention facilities in Australia;
  • the guardianship of unaccompanied children in detention in Australia;
  • assessments conducted prior to transferring children to be detained in ‘regional processing countries’; and
  • progress that has been made during the 10 years since the Commission’s 2004 report: A last resort? National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention.

‘Children’ means any person under the age of 18. Community detention is not part of the scope of this inquiry.

The National Children’s Commissioner will provide technical advice to the inquiry on the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Evidence to the inquiry

The Inquiry received over 230 submissions from individuals and organisations. Click here to read the public submissions.

The President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, Professor Gillian Triggs, convened five public hearings of the Inquiry on:

  • 4 April 2014 (in Sydney)
  • 2 July 2014 (in Melbourne)
  • 31 July 2014 (in Sydney)
  • 22 August 2014 (in Canberra)
  • 9 September 2014 (in Sydney)

Click here for further information about those hearings, including transcripts of the evidence given by witnesses.

The inquiry was accompanied by various independent consultants while visiting immigration detention centres. These consultants prepared expert reports relating to these visits. Click here to read the expert reports.


The Forgotten Children: The Inquiry's report

The final report of the Inquiry, The Forgotten Children: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014, was provided to the Attorney-General on 11 November 2014. The Attorney tabled the report in Federal Parliament on 11 February 2015. The full report is available in Word, PDF and HTML here.

To read Professor Triggs’ speech at the launch of The Forgotten Children, click here.


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