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The Australian Government has passed the Border Force Act, effective today, that has the potential for government-contracted workers at onshore and offshore detention facilities at risk up to two years in jail if they speak out about what they see.

Considerable concern has been raised about the important role that health professionals and staff play in immigration detention, which already has limited access for the general public.

This happens while Australia is undertaking a Royal Inquiry into child sex abuse, in a mandate that was extended to include immigration detention.

Earlier this year the Australian Immigration Department issued the Moss Report which confirmed reports of sexual abuse in Australian run detention centers, many involving children.

As stipulated in the IDC Core Position, conditions of detention must comply with basic minimum human rights standards. There must be regular independent monitoring of places of detention to ensure these standards are met. States should ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture, which provides a strong legal basis for a regular and independent monitoring of places of detention.