Jesuit Social Services joined Wesley Mission Victoria, MacKillop Family Services and Catholic Care Melbourne in making this submission to the Australian Human Right Commission (AHRC) National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention 2014.
As organisations with a commitment to social justice and upholding the human dignity of every person, we share serious concerns about the impact of both major political parties’ policies on the rights, inherent dignity and wellbeing of people seeking asylum in Australia.
We are particularly concerned about the treatment of children in closed detention.
As experienced community detention providers, we call upon our Government to:
- Stop the indefinite, mandatory detention of children
- Stop children’s offshore detention and ‘resettlement’ in PNG or Nauru or other countries
- Release all children from detention into community detention, or the community with appropriate supports
- Recognise the relative economic savings of community detention when compared to the far more expensive system of closed detention
- End the policy of making an example of vulnerable children, their families and adults as a means of seeking to deter future boat arrivals
- Process all asylum claims quickly and reinstate Immigration Advice and Application Assistance Scheme funding to ensure asylum seekers are assisted to adequately present their claims for refugee status
- Ensure families are reunited as soon as possible, with a particular focus on reuniting unaccompanied young people with family members through their resettlement to Australia
- Appoint an independent guardian for unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in Australia
- Give refugees ongoing opportunities to integrate into the community
- Set aside a proportion of offshore intake places for unaccompanied young people in order to ensure that this vulnerable cohort still has an opportunity to seek asylum for resettlement to Australia.