ranty letter to SMH today:
No excuse for detaining children
How much more evidence do we need that detaining children is wrong in every sense? The recent report from the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission is the last in a long chain of reports showing that lengthy detention is a breach of the human rights of children, and causes them physical and psychological harm. It hinders their development, stunts their education, and exposes and subjects them to violence, depression and misery. Australians would never put up with their own children being treated in this way. For our Government to perpetuate this abuse is a national shame, and one which will take decades to repair, both for the individuals involved, and for our reputation as a country which respects human rights.
There is no need for Australia to continue in its abuse of detainee children. Amanda Vandstone's half-hearted defence of the government's cruel policies shows a government willing to push its own xenophobic rhetoric of "border protection" at the expense of children's health and welfare. The extensive research and policy development by groups such as ChilOut, Rural Australians for Refugees, the Refugee Action Collective and the Greens show that there are many viable humane and economical alternatives to detention. We challenge both the Government and Opposition to take immediate action to get children and their parents out of detention and to bring an end to the misguided policies which have caused this misery.