The case for a royal commission into conditions in immigration detention

On 14 April ALHR Sydney hosted a sold out expert panel discussion seeking to examine the case for a royal commission to investigate the practices of successive Australian Governments in relation to the treatment of people seeking asylum.

Our esteemed panellists presented a highly informative, interesting analysis of the need for a royal commission from a diverse range of perspectives.

Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission, spoke about the key findings and recommendations of the Commission’s Forgotten Children Report and the current situation concerning immigration detention. Professor Triggs went on to make a very strong case for a royal commission as a means to provide greater transparency and to shed light on the truth regarding successive government policies and practices concerning asylum seekers.


Mohammad Ali Baqiri, refugee advocate, ChilOut ambassador and former child asylum seeker who spent three years in immigration detention provided a confronting lived perspective on what it was like to be a child detained on Nauru. Mohammad spoke eloquently about what he witnessed and experienced and why, having gone on to become a refugee advocate, he now supports calls for a royal commission.

Dr. Peter Young, psychiatrist and former director of mental health services for International Health and Medical Services, spoke about his experience overseeing mental health support within the immigration detention system and the major challenges he faced. He explained powerfully how his experience delivering medical treatment and support to detainees, and the consistent obstacles placed in his way, have led him to call publicly for a royal commission.