Saturday, February 14, 2015
It's been 10 years, how do we still have children in detention?
Madeline Gleeson Sydney Morning Herald February 12, 2015 Comments 86
Children in detention self-harming 'at high rates'
The Australian Humans Rights Commission releases its Children in Immigration Detention Report with shocking details about the mental health impacts and cases of assault against children in detention centres.
‘Australians don't need a team of experts or dramatic media stories to convince them that detention centres are no place for children to grow up.’ These words are from the introduction to the Australian Human Rights Commission's report into children in immigration detention – 10 years ago.
When it comes to the treatment of children fleeing persecution and torture, we are stuck in time. On Wednesday the commission's new report, aptly titled The Forgotten Children, was made public. It provides a sobering account of how little the protection of asylum-seeker children has improved in the past decade, and the impacts of prolonged detention on their mental and physical health.
[The report] cannot explain why Australia deteriorated from the position of 2005 to today………
A drawing by a child in detention on Christmas Island.
Adults and children are forcibly removed to small Pacific islands and detained in inhumane conditions, just as they were at the time of the last report.
Children continue to suffer a catalogue of abuses – physical, psychological, and sexual – while in the care of Australian authorities. Detained children are 17 times more likely to require hospital-based outpatient psychiatric treatment than children in the Australian community.
These findings beg the question, how did we end up back here again?...............
The meticulously researched and substantiated result of these investigations provides ordinary Australians with a rare opportunity to hear directly from the children in our care.
Immigration is a notoriously controversial issue. But surely as a society, regardless of the different opinions on refugee policy, we can reach agreement on at least one point: a better balance could be struck between the strategic objectives of immigration control and the protection of vulnerable children.
‘Let no child who arrives in Australia ever suffer under this system again,’ said the commission in 2004.
‘It is imperative that Australian governments never again use the lives of children to achieve political or strategic advantage,’ it says again now.
Will we finally listen? Or will we be right back here again in 2024.
Madeline Gleeson is a research associate at the Andrew and Renata Kaldor Centre for International Refugee Law.
Read more http://www.smh.com.au/comment/its-been-10-years-how-do-we-still-have-children-in-detention-20150212-13c905.html