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Overcrowding leads to riots at Australia's immigration detention centers: report

(Xinhua)

14:37, November 29, 2011

SYDNEY, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Overcrowding at Australia's immigration detention centers has contributed to this year's riots at Christmas Island off Western Australia's coast and Villawood in Sydney, according to an independent report released on Tuesday by Immigration Minister Chris Bowen.

The review was launched after the riots broke out on Christmas Island in March.

When another riot broke out in April at Sydney's Villawood center, razing a number of buildings, Bowen included this incident in the review.

The report, prepared by former public servants Allan Hawke and Helen Williams, found that overcrowding led to the riots.

Bowen said the detention centers were under considerable pressure when the riots occurred there.

"We had a detention network dealing with a very significant increase in the number of people arriving in Australia by boat," Bowen told reporters in Sydney on Tuesday.

"That put pressure on the detention network, and ... combined with the high proportion of people with an outcome that they have not been regarded as genuine refugees ... that leads to this sort of pressure and the sort of results we saw in March and April," he said.

The report also provides 48 recommendations to improve management and security at detention facilities.

"This report has reviewed the preparedness and response, made recommendations going forward as to how these situations can be managed," Bowen said.

He said the government would accept all of the recommendations in the report to minimize the chance of future riots.

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