Sick refugee takes on minister Dutton over coronavirus detention fears

Australian detainees protest
Detainees at Kangaroo Point APOD protest over conditions in detention. Image: Kasun Ubayasiri/SBS

By Stefan Armbruster in Brisbane

A refugee in immigration detention has launched a High Court challenge against Australia’s Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton and his department over the threat of covid-19 infection risk while held in immigration detention.

The man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, will argue the government is breaching its duty of care by failing to provide safe conditions during the pandemic.

Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner, peak medical bodies advising the federal government, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the UN have called for the release of immigration detainees where it is safe to do so to reduce the threat.

READ MORE: Human Rights Commissioner calls for immigration detainees’ release over coronavirus infection fears

Legal documents filed late on Monday state that the unnamed man has “complex medical conditions” including asthma, a heart condition and diabetes which puts him at higher risk of “severe illness or death” if a coronavirus outbreak occurs.

Border Force has repeatedly said no detainees have contracted covid-19 across the detention network and has infection control measures in place.

Republished with permission. Read the full SBS article here.

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