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Media release

GPs call for end of mandatory detention for asylum seekers

13 February 2015

The Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) is calling for an end to mandatory restrictive detention for asylum seekers on humanitarian grounds, following the release of a report on children in immigration detention.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s The Forgotten Children report found that detention caused and compounded mental health disorders amongst children and recommended all children and their families be released into the community or community detention.

RACGP President Dr Frank R Jones said GPs shared the commission’s concerns regarding the health effects of detaining asylum seeker children.

“GPs working in the community are dealing with the ongoing health effects of detention on a daily basis and are particularly concerned for children, who will carry this impact throughout their lives,” Dr Jones said.

“The RACGP is calling for an end to mandatory restrictive detention as soon as possible on humanitarian grounds.

“The RACGP also backs the commission’s recommendation that an independent guardian be appointed for unaccompanied asylum seeker children.

“These children are particularly vulnerable because they have no family and need the support of an independent guardian.

“The RACGP is the professional body representing Australian GPs and it is our moral responsibility to advocate for the health outcomes of vulnerable people.

“We call on the Federal Government to treat asylum seekers as a humanitarian rather than a political issue.”

The RACGP is the peak professional body for general practice in Australia representing more than 29,000 members working in or towards a career in general practice.