25 June 2012


A recent report on Children’s Rights in Australia notes that whilst Australia enjoys ''one of the most affluent economies of the world'' it still lacks a comprehensive national law setting out children's rights.

As a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, Australia is reviewed regularly on its progress in implementing the provisions of the Convention. The review was conducted earlier this month in Geneva.

The committee noted that there were ''fragmentation and inconsistencies'' in how children's rights were handled across states and territories citing ''serious and widespread'' concerns about racial discrimination faced by indigenous youth

Elsewhere, the experts also found special protection measures for asylum-seeking and refugee children fell far short of international requirements. While noting ''efforts'' to move children and vulnerable families in immigration detention facilities to places such as community-based detention arrangements, the committee was ''deeply concerned'' about asylum issues. One of those issues was related to the deportation of Afghan asylum seekers which was brought to the attention of the committee by Edmund Rice International.

In the concluding observations of the committee the Australian government was asked “to evaluate reports of hardship suffered by children returned to Afghanistan without a best interests determination” – a reference to the reports prepared by the Edmund Rice Centre.

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