World Bulletin / News Desk
Australia's senior rights official Gillian Triggs has said that the situation at the asylum detention center on Christmas Island has "significantly deteriorated" and left people "plagued by despair."
Triggs noticed "a spike" in self-harm cases in among the 1,102 asylum seekers who are mainly from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq and Iran.
She also expressed concern for the welfare of babies and young children, who she called to be moved to the mainland.
"In the four months since we visited Christmas Island, the situation for asylum seekers has significantly deteriorated," Prof Triggs was quoted saying by the BBC.
"They are plagued by despair and helplessness at the seemingly endless period of detention," she added.
Female asylum seekers with infants recently asked for bigger rooms so their children can learn to walk and crawl, as they are currently "confined in the extreme heat" in metal containers measuring 3m by 3m, which each contained a bunk bed and a cot, leaving only 1 sq m of space, the Australian Human Rights Commission said.
Most of the infants were said to have chest or gut infections, as well as recurrent asthma and irritation of eyes and skin, due to the cramped and unhygienic living conditions. The camp's air was also found to be contaminated with phosphate dust from a local mine.
2012 and 2013 saw a sharp rise in migrants turning up to Australia’s shores seeking asylum. Australia has been accused of turning many of them away to Indonesia.Last Mod: 24 Temmuz 2014, 17:08