Sydney: Australia on Monday said that vulnerable
asylum-seekers including children would be moved out of
detention centres into the community, easing tough policies
after facilities came under major strain.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said the government would
move "significant numbers" of minors and families into
accommodation run by church and charity groups under a more
"humane" approach, with children obliged to attend school.
"I don`t think it is the Australian way to have kids
behind razor wire," she told a press conference in Canberra,
adding that protracted detention could hurt a child`s
development and mental health.
Gillard`s minority government, which relies on support
from the left-leaning Greens, is currently in talks with East
Timor and Indonesia, a major transit point, for a regional
asylum-seeker hub to help stem the flow of immigrants.
Gillard said several hundred children and families would
be moved from detention compounds by the middle of next year,
without giving more precise figures. They will be under strict
curfews and subject to regular checks, she said.
Australia will also build two new detention centres to
help ease pressure on facilities struggling to deal with a
surge in arrivals, around 100 rickety boats carrying 5,000
poor migrants have arrived this year, officials said.
The main centre on remote Christmas Island is so full
that some people are sleeping in tents, while there have been
riots and protests by inmates in Sydney and Darwin, in which
one Fijian leapt to his death.