Media Release, 26 November, 2012
The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council has voiced its concern regarding Australia’s detention of children and their families.
ACSJC Chairman Bishop Christopher Saunders said: “That asylum seekers, including children, have now been sent to Manus should set the alarm bells ringing. Having witnessed first-hand the conditions in Australia’s detention centres, and following Amnesty reports of the crisis on Nauru, we hold grave concerns for their wellbeing.”
The ACSJC holds that the tactical decision to excise Australia from its own migration zone does not relieve us of our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the Covenant on the Rights of the Child.
“No child should be detained indefinitely in any onshore or offshore facility. No person should be detained indefinitely in an environment we know causes long-term harm”, Bishop Saunders said.
“It is hard to fathom the Government’s expenditure of hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars on indefinite offshore detention. This ‘no advantage’ policy is sure to cause harm but it cannot guarantee its policy objective of deterring desperate people.
“We remind all Australians that it is not illegal to seek asylum in Australia.
“We oppose the policy of prolonged detention of asylum seekers but we are particularly concerned about its effects on vulnerable people, especially children.
“We call on the Australian Government to release immediately all children and their families from immigration detention whether that is on the mainland or in these offshore camps”, Bishop Saunders concluded.
For further information:
Bishop Christopher Saunders, Chairman, ACSJC, Tel: 0418 260 155
John Ferguson, National Executive Officer, ACSJC, Tel: 02 8306 3499