A company that is not abusive is one which:
Has zero tolerance for child abuse.
The overarching finding of the Australian Human Rights Commission Inquiry 'Forgotten Children', was that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seeker children causes them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays, in clear violation of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. On the basis of these findings, the Commission recommended that all children and their families be released from immigration detention.
In addition, children are at increased risk of physical and sexual abuse in detention. Numerous incidents of abuse of children have been outlined in the Australian Government-commissioned independent review by Phillip Moss, and submitted as evidence to the Senate Select Committee on the conditions of detention on Nauru. The Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Abuse has said that "institutions operating without accountability, or with accountability only to themselves," those "operating in physically isolated places," and having operational or funding systems beyond the range of normal scrutiny were all factors that significantly increased the risk of child abuse. Offshore detention, in particular, fits these indicators and is not an appropriate environment for children.
No company should be involved in activities which cause significant and predictable harm to children. Companies must not hold children and their families in immigration detention.
Respects people's fundamental rights to freedom from arbitrary and indefinite detention.
Arbitrary detention' is clearly barred under various human rights standards, including Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The current system of detaining asylum seekers in offshore and onshore centers clearly amounts to 'arbitrary detention', a finding confirmed numerous times by domestic and international human rights bodies. In order for the system not to constitute arbitrary detention it:
- Cannot be mandatory or automatic;
- Cannot be open-ended or indefinite;
- Must provide a robust and transparent individual assessment mechanism to determine whether the immigration detention of each person is necessary, reasonable or proportionate;
- Must provide for anyone deprived of their liberty to be able to challenge their detention in a court. To comply with Article 9(4) of the ICCPR, that court must have the power to order the person's release if their detention is found to be arbitrary and in breach of article 9(1) of the ICCPR.
Does not treat people in a cruel, inhumane or degrading manner
All people have a fundamental right to humane treatment in detention (Article 10, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) and a right not to be subjected to torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (Article 7, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Articles 1 and 16 of the UN Convention Against Torture). The current system of detention has been found to amount to a breach of the aforementioned articles.
In 2015, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture stated that "by failing to provide adequate detention conditions; end the practice of detention of children; and put a stop to the escalating violence and tension at the Regional Processing Centre, has violated the right of the asylum seekers, including children, to be free from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as provided by articles 1 and 16 of the [Convention Against Torture]."
Commits to transparency and independent monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld
Independent monitoring, and the ability of asylum seekers to make complaints to independent monitors, is essential for the prevention of torture and the protection of other human rights.
This is recognised in many international and regional human rights instruments and in Australian legislation.
All immigration facilities should allow monitoring by independent bodies, including the Commonwealth Ombudsman, the Australian Human Rights Commission, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and Australian Red Cross. The purpose of this monitoring includes ensuring that immigration facilities are administered in accordance with international obligations and with relevant statutory requirements. All asylum seekers must be able to communicate freely and in full confidentiality with monitoring bodies and any other person of their choosing, including legal representatives and members of the media.