Rights for all children – wherever they’re from
There has been a lot of media in recent weeks about the 157 asylum seekers from Sri Lanka who spent weeks on a “prison ship” before being transferred to Curtin Detention Centre and then on to Nauru. 50 of the asylum seekers we children including 1 or 2 children separated from their families.
It seems an impossible dual role for the Minister for Immigration to have responsibility to deter asylum seekers coming to Australia and, at the same time, be the Minister responsible for the welfare of unattached minors.
This latter role should be transferred to another authority.
At Samaritans we strongly disagree with the Government’s responses to asylum seeker children, especially the policy of locking them up in detention centres when they have committed no crime.
The children of asylum seekers have a right to be treated the same way as any other child in Australia and in accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
This Convention has clearly been breached with recent arrivals from Sri Lanka.