Refugee advocates are concerned that dropping work health and safety (WHS) charges related to the suicide of a detainee at Villawood Immigration Detention Centre would miss an opportunity to examine Australia's refugee treatment practices.
The Federal Department of Home Affairs and healthcare provider IHMS were charged with WHS breaches following the death of a 26-year-old Iraqi national in detention. They were accused of failing to ensure a safe system of work and provide adequate training and supervision for mental health staff.
Both Home Affairs and IHMS have applied to permanently dismiss the charges. A decision by the court is expected on August 25.
Advocates argue not pursuing the charges prevents a public examination of the detainee's death and Australia's detention policies. They believe the prosecution would shed light on the treatment of refugees and encourage better compliance with WHS responsibilities.
The suicide death of the 26-year-old Iraqi national is one in a series of fatal and non-fatal events at Villawood, with advocates highlighting the need for accountability and transparency.
Source: OHS Alert, 15 August