UNICEF Australia has welcomed the Australian Human Rights Commission’s inquiry into children in immigration detention.
UNICEF Australia holds serious concerns for the wellbeing of children in prolonged detention and considers this one of the most urgent child rights issues in Australia today. We support the inquiry’s review of the health, education, development and emotional needs of children in immigration detention and its consideration of how immigration processes impact on children.
UNICEF Australia’s concerns relate to our international human rights obligations under the Children’s Convention and the Refugee Convention. Australia’s commitments under these conventions are to protect children and families seeking refuge and safety and to prioritise the best interests of the child.
The Children’s Convention specifically states children should not be detained indefinitely and only as a matter of last resort.
UNICEF Australia believes the inquiry will provide access to open and transparent information about children who are in immigration detention. This includes information about their care, their physical and mental health, measures taken to protect them while in detention and access to education.
This inquiry gives voice to children who cannot provide us with this information themself and raises critical questions about the long-term social outcomes of unchecked, prolonged immigration detention by calling for adults who were detained by Australia’s immigration processes to share their views and recollections of that time.
UNICEF Australia will make a submission to the inquiry and encourages other concerned citizens and organisation’s supporting the rights of children in immigration detention to submit to the inquiry.
Source: UNICEF Australia