Friday, May 14, 2004

Report recommends freeing child detainees

The Human Rights Commission has found that some children held in Australia's immigration detention centres have been exposed to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment.

After a two-year inquiry, the commission's report was tabled in Parliament today.

The report says children detained for long periods are at high risk of serious mental harm and the Government's failure to heed the concerns of mental health workers about some particular children is inhumane.

It recommends all children in detention be released within a month.

But Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone has rejected that, saying it would send a dangerous message to people smugglers.

"What it says to people smugglers is that if you bring children, you'll be able to be out in the community very quickly," she said.

She says the report is disappointing but Labor's Stephen Smith has seized on it. "It's a damning indictment of the Government's policy and its administration," he said.
He says Labor has long promised to release all children from detention.

The children's refugee advocacy group Chil-Out has welcomed the report.

Dianne Hiles says the Government cannot reject its findings.

"It can't dismiss it, it's our national human rights watchdog, it is set up exactly to draw attention to this sort of situation where we have a flawed policy that is causing harm and is in breach of human rights," he said.

By Paramount Welfare 14 May 04


Compo claims could follow child detention, group warns
A refugee group has predicted a string of compensation claims, after the Human Rights Commission found numerous and repeated breaches of the UN convention on the rights of the child in immigration detention.

No more children for Baxter, pleads SA
The South Australian Government is urging the Commonwealth not to shift any more children into the Baxter detention centre in the state's north.

Australia: F-word used in erection year
"If you can have children it's a good thing to do," the Treasurer preached to hundreds of reporters at his budget lock-up press conference. "You should have, if you can - not everyone can - one for your husband and one for your wife and one for the country," he said.

Child detention breaches UN convention: human rights report
There are currently 86 children in detention in Australia and more than 70 on the Pacific Island of Nauru. The Federal Opposition, [as well as of at least half of Australia], has called on the Government to act on the report immediately.

Detention centre media ban criticised
The Howard Government has been criticised in a report by media freedom advocate Reporters Without Borders for stopping journalists covering the conditions in refugee detention centres.

Refugee protests expected to move to Sydney
Refugee advocates look set to protest in Sydney this Easter instead of the Baxter detention centre near Port Augusta in South Australia's north.

Baxter detainees' drug use 'not monitored'
The Australian Democrats say detainees at the Baxter detention centre in South Australia are being given high levels of psychotropic medication without adequate monitoring.

Legal action considered to return asylum seeker
The Australian lawyer for an asylum seeker stranded in an airport transit lounge in South Africa says she is looking at court proceedings to bring him back to Australia.

Santa Clause is coming to Baxter
On the 1st day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of peace'.
On the 2nd day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of Joy'.
On the 3rd day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of love'.
On the 4th day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of hope'.
On the 5th day of Christmas 'We give you the gift of faith'.

Ombudsman launches Port Hedland riot inquiry
The investigation comes at the request of the incoming Labor party president, Carmen Lawrence. Soon after the riot at the Western Australian detention centre about two weeks ago, Dr Lawrence released a statement alleging guards had beaten a 14-year-old boy and used a cattle prod on another.

Nauru staff 'fear children are next'?
The group representing the asylum seekers on Nauru has denied women and children have joined the strike and says they have not been asked to take part. [In other words "A" typical fear-mongering by Vanstone like kids overboard to gain some political leveraged!]

More asylum seekers join hunger strike
More asylum seekers in mandatory detention on the island of Nauru have joined a hunger strike to protest against the Federal Government refusing them refugee status. There are concerns that some of the hunger strikers may suffer serious injury or death from dehydration.

Australian Govt human rights record 'worsening'
Community groups have given the Federal Government five out of ten for its record on human rights this year. A national review conducted by groups including the Australian Council of Trade Unions and churches has concluded Australia's record on human rights has deteriorated.

Downer out of touch: Archbishop Carnley
Anglican Archbishop Peter Carnley has called on Alexander Downer to lift his game, saying the Foreign Minister has put Australia into a "difficult position internationally".

Kirby's insight is decent, last week Justice Kirby threw at the Federal Government's barrister, the Solicitor-General David Bennett QC, in a ground-breaking case heard in the High Court, testing for the first time Australia's Mandatory Immigration Detention Scheme.

Howard Govt: Absolute vacuum on Compassion, Reality and Justice
The Northern Territory's Labor Senator, Trish Crossin, says the Federal Government showed no compassion for asylum seekers when it excised Melville Island from Australia's migration zone earlier this month.

Refugee policy, here is a new project: Burnside
The idea is to have thousands of Australian citizens writing to federal parliamentarians asking very simple, but hard, questions about the key aspects of refugee policy. I have devised a letter writing kit for this purpose. I attach a copy. It contains instructions which, are, I hope, fairly clear.

New A-G Ruddock has no regard for the independence of courts
As immigration Minister Ruddock's respect fell short of human rights when he tried to stop appeals introducing the Pacific Solution which means if an illegal immigrant is picked up in Australian waters by our navey they are sent elsewhere for processing. If their application for asylum is rejected they can be deported without legal appeal in Australia.

Judge renews child detainee release call
A Family Court judge, for a second time, has appealed to Immigration Minister, Philip Ruddock to address the issue of children in detention.

Ruddock to challenge Family Court ruling
Ruddock said it is unfortunate the Full Court of the Family Court made the decision. He said a successful High Court challenge could see the children returned to detention.

Children in Baxter Detention Centre: Tell me a fable...
Opponents vow to fight yesterday's Family Court ruling against the release of five children from South Australia's Baxter detention centre has strengthened the resolve of groups fighting the Federal Government's policy of detaining child asylum seekers.

Where did you say you reside Mr Carr?
New South Wales Premier Bob Carr says a protest outside Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's Sydney home should have been called off for moral reasons. Mr Carr says people who want to protest against the Federal Government's immigration policies should do it in Sydney's CBD, not outside Mr Ruddock's home.

Three protesters tricked outside Ruddock's house
Protest organisers have been critical of police actions at a pro-refugee rally near Immigration Minister Philip Ruddock's Sydney home.

Australia: Child detention, tell me a fable...
Democrat's leader Andrew Bartlett wants all children in immigration detention centres released, in the wake of the Family Court refusal to put a stay on one of its landmark rulings.

Amnesty calls for release of children from detention centres
Human rights group Amnesty International is pressuring the Federal Government to immediately release children from detention centres in the wake of the latest report on detainee children.

Child detainees 'living in a nightmare', report finds
A report being released today documents disturbing evidence about mental health for children in detention centres. The report is a joint work by the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists, NSW University and NSW psychiatrists.

Demonstrators prepared for Baxter protest
Thousands of demonstrators will converged at Port Augusta in preparation for this weekend's expected protest at the Baxter detention centre.