A public hearing into children in immigration detention was held today as part of an inquiry launched In February.
The inquiry, led by President of the Australian Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs, was developed to investigate how life in immigration detention affects the health and development of children.
People who have lived in immigration detention gave evidence at today’s hearing, alongside psychiatrists, educators and representative from a range of NGOs.
Former detainee and ChilOut ambassador Bashir Yousifi, who spent almost a year inside detention on Christmas Island, spoke at the hearing this afternoon.
He told SBS he had experienced stress and anxiety inside detention and witnessed numerous instances of self-harm.
“I’ve seen other kids who were cutting themselves…because they [were] spending almost three years, two years, inside detention and they have no future, they have no access to education – nothing,” he said.
Bashir said by speaking at today’s hearing, he hoped to spread the message that children need protection.
“For those who have no idea of the impact of detention, I would love to tell them, please just help to get [children] out of detention, to give them a chance, to send them to school.”
The inquiry will consider what has changed for children in immigration detention since the Human Rights Commission released its 2004 report, A last resort? the report of the National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention.
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