UN Human Rights Committee
Communication No. 2094/2011
26 July 2013
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: articles 9 (1, 2, 4) (Freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention); 7 (Prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment), 10 (1) (Right to humanity and dignity for persons deprived of their liberty); 17 (1) (Right to private and family life); 23 (1) (Protection of the family); 24 (1) (Special protection for children).
The 37 authors were Sri Lankan citizens, being held in Australian immigration facilities. The authors, including 2 children, entered Australia territorial waters on various boats between March 2009 and March 2010. They were apprehended at sea, disembarked in Australia and taken to immigration detention facilities, as “unlawful non-citizen” as they did not have valid visas to enter Australia. They claimed that their detention in immigration facilities violated the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘The Covenant’). The authors specifically claimed that their detention was a violation of articles 17 (para. 1), 23 (para. 1) and 24 (para. 1) as the detention interfered with family life and was not compatible with the State party’s obligation to protect the family and children. The Committee considered that the authors’ claims have been insufficiently substantiated and declared them inadmissible under Article 2 of the Optional Protocol. The Committee noted that the “family (had) been given the possibility to stay together, (had) been provided with special residential housing and that educational, recreational and other programmes, including outside the facility, (were) provided, in particular to the children”.
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