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Men 'Can Watch' Naked Baxter Women

A CATHOLIC priest has written to Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone asking that male officers not be able to view female detainees at Baxter Detention Centre when they shower or go to the toilet.
Father Paul Burke, a representative of the Christian ministers who regularly visit the South Australian immigration detention centre, said he wanted an undertaking that detainees would not be subject to such treatment.
According to Father Burke's letter, sent last month and obtained by the ABC, male officers could view female prisoners as they showered in the management isolation unit or another isolation unit known as Red One.
Cornelia Rau, 39, whose wrongful detention is now the subject of an inquiry, was held in both units during her 10 months at Baxter.
Father Burke wrote that Baxter Immigration Detention Centre manager, Peter Saxon of GSL Australia, had twice failed to give the requested undertaking at a meeting on April 13.
After failing to obtain agreement, Father Burke sent his letter to Senator Vanstone on April 19 asking for the undertaking. He has yet to receive a reply.
Geraldine Hawkes, of the Commission of Australian Catholic Women, said she was also concerned about the treatment of female detainees in such areas.
"There is a complete loss of dignity and the dehumanisation of, I can't even begin to think how they (the female detainees) must feel, when that situation is allowed to happen," Ms Hawkes told ABC's Saturday AM.

AAP (28-5-2005)

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