Main behind wire fence

Detention Rights Advocacy

The ASRC’s Detention Rights Advocacy program works with people seeking asylum in onshore and offshore detention to provide casework services encompassing emotional support, information about the complexities of Australia’s policies, resettlement options to third countries, and referrals to medical and legal services and others who can help the clients.

Where it’s in the individual’s interest to do so, after obtaining legal advice, we support people seeking asylum to speak with the media safely, to make sure their voices are heard and the injustices affecting them become known. We seek to strengthen people’s voices for self-advocacy, and to be their voice when they need us to be. We work closely with the sector to campaign for the end of arbitrary detention, closure of offshore detention, and for everyone to be resettled in a safe environment respecting their human rights.

The program currently has over 400 clients in detention across Australia and in Nauru and PNG, and comprises a Detention Advocacy Manager, Sadaf Ismail and two case workers.

Onshore detention advocacy

We advocate directly to Australian Border Force about emerging issues in detention and help escalate complaints in order to hold detention authorities to account when they act in an abusive or unfair way. Furthermore, we provide casework services to the clients held in Immigration detention centres and Alternative Places of Detention (APODs). We work closely with the legal and medical professionals to support the clients.

Offshore detention advocacy

We provide support and assistance to people over the phone in Nauru and PNG. Our work ranges from advocacy for medical treatment for people with serious and sometimes life-threatening illnesses, to providing legal support and connecting them to services that exist to support them in that environment. Often most importantly, we listen when they are afraid, and document what is happening to them in sometimes harmful environments.

If you would like to learn more about our work around detention advocacy or are seeking a comment, please contact