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1,507 refugees in Australia hospitalized in first 6 months: report

(Xinhua)

13:11, August 17, 2011

CANBERRA, Aug. 17 (Xinhua) -- A report on Tuesday night unveiled the full extent of despair and unrest inside Australia's immigration detention network, showing 1,507 detainees hospitalized in the first six months of this year.

A parliamentary inquiry into the immigration detention network, instigated by the Opposition and Greens, was heard in Canberra on Tuesday night.

The Immigration Department has supplied the inquiry with hundreds of pages of data, including the time and nature of every recorded incident inside the 19 immigration detention centers.

Hunger strikes are recorded at most centers, with the report showing that International Health and Medical Services, the network's health provider, treated 723 detainees for "voluntary starvation" in the first six month of this year.

Children starving themselves were recorded in at least 17 incidents in the past year.

It also showed 1,507 detainees hospitalized in the first six months of this year, including 72 psychiatric hospital admissions, and 213 treated for physical injuries resulting from self-harm.

While self-harm is being recorded at almost every detention center, Christmas Island is particularly plagued by suicide attempts. There were 620 self-harm incidents on Christmas Island in the year to June, including 193 actual acts, 31 serious attempts, and 476 threatened acts.

The Immigration Department secretary, Andrew Metcalfe told the hearing in Canberra that self harm was related to asylum seekers receiving negative outcomes to refugee claims.

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