WITH the clock ticking on the Federal Government’s promise to remove children from detention on Christmas Island, before Christmas, UNICEF Australia is using Human Rights Day, today, to draw attention to the children the Abbott Government is willing to leave behind.
UNICEF Australia Chief Executive Officer Norman Gillespie said the Federal Government had committed to releasing children from Christmas Island but had not solved the situation for very vulnerable children it had sent to Nauru.
“We would very much like to see all children that have been placed in immigration detention by the policies of the Australian Government, including those 165 children on Nauru, released immediately.
Based on the body of evidence that has emerged, including from Australian Human Rights Commission’s (AHRC) public hearings, Dr Gillespie said it was known that detention caused profound harm to children and families, and reiterated that all children under Australia’s care should be immediately released.
“The Australian community is very uncomfortable with the manner in which these children have suffered and would like to see them released,” Dr Gillespie said.
“Many Australians who have contacted us would very much like to hear the recommendations from the Commission’s inquiry, which the government has had now for weeks.
“Decision-makers should not leave children to languish and we would encourage the government to release the Commission’s report and restore Australia’s reputation as a country that is a champion of children’s rights.
Dr Gillespie said many of these children, including 44 babies born in Australia, had been held at the discretion of the Minister for up to 15 months and had suffered breaches of their rights to accessing education, health care and safety and protection.
UNICEF Australia has repeatedly called on the Federal Government to meet Australia’s commitment under the Convention on the Rights of the Child and remove all children, and their families, from immigration detention, most recently in a joint statement with an alliance of leading children’s, international development, human rights and refugee organisations.
Source: UNICEF Australia