Former Australian Prime Minister, Malcolm Fraser, has launched a petition aimed at freeing children in detention. This petition calls for Australians to sign but I can't see why the rest of the world shouldn't know about it. After all, this is an international problem, the majority of these children are born overseas.
Port Hedland Detention Centre
I was chatting to an overseas friend today and he thought I was talking about children being held on drug charges or something. Are overseas people aware of the problem?
I see this situation as horribly shameful and another thing to add to the injustices already served in this country over the last 200 years. I can't believe that such a thing could happen in this day and age.
Baxter Detention Centre
I know it's long, but please read the following document from
Associate to the Hon. Justice P Hely
Federal Court of Australia
Former PM's petition to free children from detention
Former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser is seeking signatures to a petition addressed to the Prime Minister, John Howard, and Minister for Immigration, Senator Amanda Vanstone, seeking the release of 94 children held by Australia in Immigration Detention in Australia and 90 in the Pacific.
Mr Fraser has launched this campaign to provide opportunities for as many Australians as possible to register their opposition to the detention of children.
Based on the November figures from A Just Australia, the children are held at the following detention centres:
Villawood 32 children
Maribyrnong 1 child
Baxter 22 children
Woomera Housing Project 7 children
Port Hedland 15 children
Port Hedland Housing 2 children
Christmas Island 15 children
Nauru 90 children
The petition states:
"The oldest children in detention are living out their teens behind razor wire and electric fences. The youngest is a baby born a month ago, who was placed in detention in Baxter shortly after his birth. The physical, emotional and psychological damage detention inflicts on children is well documented and not in dispute. Some children in Australian detention centres have been unnecessarily imprisoned for years. In Sweden the maximum time a child is kept in custody is six days.
"Detention of children is, in several instances, part of the enforced separation of families. Current solutions to the detention of children are inadequate and fail to fully protect children's needs and rights. Mothers and children are housed under guard in houses outside the centre while fathers remain inside. Boys older than 12 have been separated from their mothers and forced to live in the detention centre proper.
"Under the regulations of the Temporary Protection Visa some families are split, with dependant children stranded in other countries, and their parents unable to find a solution that will reunite the family. These families live in uncertainty, fear and intense anxiety. Their children suffer in ways that would terrify any parent. The detention of children and Temporary Protection Visa, especially its effect on separated families, breach Australia's obligations under international conventions and protocols.
This is not how we as Australians want to treat families. The needs and rights of children must be put first. We the undersigned call for an immediate end to the detention of children.
"We call for an immediate change to regulations that enforce separation between parents and dependant children. We call for changes in legislation that will protect future children arriving unauthorised on Australian territory or in Australian waters. Damaging children is not acceptable to us as Australians.
A Just Australia National Director Howard Glenn said, "Most people don't want to see children in detention. This petition is one clear way they can make that known to their elected representatives."
A number of children have been detained for more than three years. Many have lived much of their lives either fleeing persecution or detained under Australian policy. Few of them are likely to be released soon unless the Minister for Immigration acts on compassionate grounds.
To access the on-line petition, go to: PETITION ONLINE
or at A JUST AUSTRALIA - Media releases Baxter Watch has links to other detention centres. BAXTER WATCH
The Oppostion's spokesperson for Population and Immigration, Nicola Roxon, is also asking people to join her in asking the Government to release all children from detention by Christmas this year. "It has been 12 months since the Government made bold claims to be changing their policy towards children in high security detention. Despite this there are still around 200 children in high security detention both in Australia and in Nauru," she said.
She will also introduce a Private Members Bill into Parliament next week, calling for the immediate release of children and their families into alternative accomodation, including community housing, and hostels. There will be a launch of free-the-children campaign materials on December 1 at Parliament House, Canberra.
The Port Hedland they don't see.