2 June 2015
Recent information provided by Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP) revealed that as of 25 May 2015, there were 136 children in detention facilities in Australia. The DIBP also said that 88 children currently detained in Australia are due to be transferred to Nauru in the near future to join the 95 already held there. In addition, as at 30th April a further 1092 children were living in community detention.
It was also revealed during the recent Senate Estimates hearings that the average length of time that children are currently spending in detention is 345 days. Disturbingly, it was revealed that one child has been in detention for almost five years.
In the Senate Estimates hearings it was also revealed that there have been 15 allegations of sexual assault and 270 reports of other types of assault in immigration detention centres in the past three months, including two cases involving children.
Whilst the current Royal Commission into child sex abuse is investigating the Department of Immigration and Border Protection in relation to children who have been abused in Australian immigration detention centres, the scope of the Royal Commission’s inquiry will not extend to Nauru.
The Royal Australasian College of Physicians (RACP), after seeing first-hand the appalling healthcare standards for asylum seekers, has released its first position statement on refugee and asylum seeker health which includes a section on children and families. A spokesperson for the RACP described the Government’s policies as “inhumane” and said that health professionals were especially concerned about children.
Consultant paediatrician Professor David Isaacs said that doctors were left mentally scarred after treating children and parents in Nauru. “The people there are in such distress and we saw children as young as six self-harming – I’d never seen that before in my entire life,” he said.
For more information about children in detention visit the Chilout website
ERA for Change is again inviting students in Edmund Rice Schools in Australian to to take a voluntary lunchtime detention on June 12th to stand in solidarity with child asylum seekers being held in detention centres in Australia and abroad.