In light of previously stated facts it is clear that current policy has an extensive detrimental effect on refugees and asylum seekers. Not only are Australias policies are financially unsustainable, but also cause significant and long-lasting harm. AFRAM is asking politicians and their parties to ensure we adhere to our commitment to UN Refugee Convention and remains committed to advocating for refugees and asylum seekers to ensure that they are treated fairly and humanely.
THERE ARE PRACTICAL AND COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTIONS THAT OPTIMISE HEALTH OUTCOMES FOR OUR FUTURE CITIZENS
We are asking Australian Parliamentarians to:
- Acknowledge the impact Australias deterrence policies are having on the mental health of asylum seekers and refugees
- Avoid punitive deterrence policies regarding the treatment of asylum seekers that amplify mental health trauma. This includes ceasing prolonged or indefinite mandatory detention, offshore processing and temporary protection visas.
- Honour its obligations under the Declaration of Human Rights and UN Refugee Convention and recognise national and international law when making decisions regarding policy that impact on refugee and asylum seeker health;
- Provide leadership by accurately informing the public about the global state of refugee movement, rights of refugees under the Refugee Convention and the welfare and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.
- Ensure accountability and transparency in all activities relating to the processing and detention of refugees and asylum seekers;
- Until alternatives, such as community detention, can be implemented, minimise the detrimental health impacts of detention by:
- Actively seeking alternatives for detention of asylum seekers;
- Implementing a legally binding maximum time to be spent in detention and minimising the time spent in detention facilities to reduce health impact;
- Enhancing available mental health services, including training healthcare professionals working in detention to recognize and treat victims of torture and trauma, and respond appropriately to those in danger of self-harm and mental illness;
- Ensuring adequate health and living standards at all detention facilities, including offshore detention centres;
- Ensuring that detention of any child is used only as a last resort for the shortest possible time and immediately removing all unaccompanied minors from places of detention;
- Reinstate the Immigration Health Advisory group
- Institute interventions to address social and environmental factors contributing to poor health outcomes, including housing, employment and education; which may act as determinants of the health of refugees and asylum seekers;
- Establish an independent national preventative mechanism with power to investigate and advise on the health status of refugees and asylum seekers under Australias care, consistent with the recommendations of the Australian Human Rights Commission;
- Support further research into the health impacts of the challenges faced by and policies applicable to refugees and asylum seekers and
- Support the State governments in improving availability and accessibility of mental health support services for both asylum seekers and refugees in and out of detention. This includes assessment of their mental health, adequate access to mental health professionals and appropriately trained service staff.