Malcolm Fraser AC, former Prime Minister of Australia, was a staunch defender of the rights of refugees and asylum seekers. This speech was given at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne on June 18th 2014 in a special symposium to mark Refugee Week. Other speakers in the symposium were The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC, The Hon Frank Vincent AO QC and Dr Georgia Paxton, Head of the Refugee Health Clinic at RCH Melbourne.
On Thursday (4 June 2015) GETUP delivering the petition straight to Parliament House calling for the immediate release of all children and their families from Australian-run detention centres. In addition to delivering the petition, 231 children's silhouettes were placed along the lawn, as well as the large block letters spelling 'KIDS OUT'.
The petition was supported by a range of concerned NGOs.
Because not everyone could be in Canberra for the delivery of the petition, GETUP, with the support of agencies such as CRI, would like to encourage as many Australians as possible to also call for the release of the children held in detention. Concerned Australians are asked to participate in a call for social media action.
You can participate in the social media action by:
Here's an example:
"When I was in fifth grade, my dad surprised me with a puppy, whom I named Sharna. We were best friends, I remember as a kid I felt like I could share anything with her.
But today, there are 231 children who are currently being denied the opportunity to make memories like these for themselves. They are locked in Australian-run detention centres by our government.
All children should be given a chance to enjoy their childhood, that's why I'm calling for our government to get #kidsout today."
Don't forget to encourage your friends and family to take part too!
See more at GETUP: Solidarity Action for Kids Out!
Members of CRI participated in the 2015 Walk for Justice to raise the awareness of the public to the plight of children in detention. The walk also aimed to convey to policy makers of all political persuasions that the current policies are in contravention of the United Nations conventions to which Australia is a signatory, and contrary to human rights, the rights of children and the rule of law, all of which Australia purports to support.
ELEANOR HALL: Child rights advocates are supporting the Human Rights Commission's recommendation to release all children from immigration detention, including the 119 children in Nauru.
They say the report is not the first to draw attention to the harm detention inflicts on children but that its findings are clear and it's time to act.
Sarah Sedghi reports.
SARAH SEDGHI: It's been more than a decade since the Human Rights Commission last investigated the detention of asylum seeker children.
The latest investigation which began last year found that detention causes children significant mental and physical harm.
It documented cases of assaults and self-harm.
ALASTAIR NICHOLSON: This is, I think, one of the most disgraceful episodes in Australian history, the treatment of children in detention.
And this is an objective and clear account of the evidence that really should make us all ashamed of this behaviour.
How any Australian government could justify this on any basis is beyond me.
by Gemma Evans
Writer, Editor and SAHM
Members of the legal academia have called for the re-examination of the Juvenile Justice Bill 2014, passed into Law by the Lok Sabha. The law allows those aged between 16 and 18 to be tried and sentenced according to the Indian Penal Code as though they were adults.
In 1995 the Hon. Alastair Nicholson, then Chief Justice of the Family Court of Australia, raised the issue that Australia was failing its international obligations by holding children in detention centres. His comments were published in an article titled 'Judge damns refugee camps', by Chip Le Grand, The Australian, Thursday 20th of July 1995 (Edition: Sydney). The full text of the 1995 article is reproduced below; it seems that in 20 years little or nothing has changed.
AUSTRALIA was failing its international obligations by detaining child refugees in "virtual concentration camps" in the wilderness of the outback, the head of the Family Court, Justice Alastair Nicholson, said yesterday.
Justice Nicholson said it was intolerable and unnecessary to intern Chinese and Cambodian children among asylum-seekers at the remote Port Hedland detention centre in Western Australia as though they were "a danger to Australian society". He said the policy was at odds with Australia's status as a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Children and nominated the Family Court, with its powers to protect children, as a possible avenue for legal challenges to the detention system.