Up to 27 people have died in immigration custody since 2000 yet none of these deaths are recorded by the national deaths in custody monitoring program, despite clearly meeting the legal definition, according to a human rights advocate and paralegal with more than 10 years’ experience working on deaths in immigration detention.

"If you apply the law around what constitutes custody, which flows from the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody and other legal test cases, then there is no dispute that these are deaths in custody. There are deaths in Commonwealth custody," Charandev Singh said.