October 24th marked the beginning of Children’s week in Australia, a time to reflect on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, a revolutionary document which has helped change the way we view and treat Children.
Since the ratification of this convention there has been much to celebrate, from declining infant mortality rates to rising school enrolment. While these successes give us hope, children around the world still suffer from injustices which rob them of their youth.
One particularly cruel injustice which some children are forced to endure is child detention. The most recent data shows that there are 197 children in detention due to Australia’s current immigration policy, 104 in Australia and 93 on Nauru, in addition to the 405 children who are in community detention in Australia.
The Catholic Church in Australia has been a vocal critic of mandatory detention centres since their inception. The Catholic Bishops highlighted the dangers of mandatory detention in the 2015-2016 Social Justice Statement For Those Who’ve Come Across the Seas; Justice for refugees and asylum seekers.
Catholic Religious Australia, the peak council of Catholic religious congregations in Australia has also taken action to end child detention, lobbying Members and Senators at Parliament House Canberra, calling on them to restore Australia’s standing as a compassionate nation by winding back policies negatively impacting on people escaping violence, persecution and death.
In order to further help the Church’s efforts to end child detention, the Redemptorists have created a Children in detention digital resource kit, located at: http://www.cssr.org.au/writings/dsp-default.cfm?loadref=698 . This resource kit includes websites, articles, images and prayer which can be shared with the hashtag #KidsOut to bring attention to these innocent children held in detention.
#KidsOut was launched Thursday October 29th on a day of solidarity with children in detention. This hashtag campaign has brought together both Church and secular institutions acting to free children from detention.
Throughout 2016 the Redemptorists look to produce a series of digital resource kits for upcoming liturgical and non liturgical days and events of interests. These digital resource kits will be ideal for parishes, schools and Catholic organisations.
Matthew Howard is Communications Officer for the Redemptorists in Australia, New Zealand and Samoa, Province of Oceania.