While the Houston report contains some welcome  recommendations, concerns remain about the effects of long periods of detention on Nauru and Manus Island, Dr Philip Freier, Anglican Archbishop of Melbourne, said today.

Dr Freier said he welcomed in particular the report’s recommendations to increase Australia’s humanitarian intake, and make available legal and welfare services to detainees; and also the report’s recognition that the problem had to be tackled globally and regionally. However, he said he remained concerned that there appear to be no guarantees that asylum seekers will not be detained indefinitely on Nauru and Manus Island.

“It has been clearly established that long and indefinite detention severely affects the mental health of detainees. This is of particular concern in the case of children and unaccompanied minors.

“I strongly urge the Federal Government to place a limit on the time detainees, especially children, are held in detention.”

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