The Human Rights Commission inquiry has revealed shocking details of the detention conditions on Nauru.
“The lack of water, the lack of basic clothing and shoes, the lack of proper education facilities; all of this reveals a detention regime in which children are simply pawns of government policy,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“It is absurd for the Attorney-General Senator Brandis to deny the obvious – that the government is in breach of its international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child,” said Rintoul. “It seems the government has learned nothing from its ‘near death experience’ ”
“The government’s own submission to the inquiry states, ‘…the Australian Government’s view is that in making the decision [to transfer to Nauru], the best interests of such children are outweighed by other primary considerations.’
“The children and their families detained on Nauru are as much the responsibility of Australia as those still detained in mainland detention centres. They are the victims of the deal done with the Palmer United Party Senators who supported the re-introduction of temporary protection visas last year.
“They were arbitrarily selected for transfer to Nauru. The inquiry reveals that the ‘pre-transfer assessment process’ and the “best interests assessment” are a farce. Now they are arbitrarily detained in appalling conditions.”
The Refugee Action Coalition agrees with the the overarching finding of the Inquiry, “..that the prolonged, mandatory detention of asylum seeker children causes them significant mental and physical illness and developmental delays, in breach of Australia’s international obligations.”
And, what is true of children detained is true for all those detained.
The Refugee Action Coalition calls for all the immediate closure of Nauru and for all children and their families and for all asylum seekers and refugees to be brought to the mainland, and allowed to live and work in the community.
“The government is spending billions of dollars to maintain the detention centre on Nauru while it tries to drive though budget cuts to health, welfare and services,” said Rintoul.
“Instead of cutting Medicare, the billions of dollars spent destroying lives in detention, could be spent supporting services needed by asylum seekers, refugees, pensioners and the whole community.”
For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713
Category: Press releases