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Commission Website: National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention

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Submission to National Inquiry

into Children in Immigration Detention from

the Youth Advocacy Centre

and Queensland Program of Assistance to Survivors of Torture and Trauma

(QPASTT)



OVERVIEW

This submission has

been produced by the Queensland Program of Assistance for Survivors of

Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) and the Youth Advocacy Centre (YAC). The submission

is also endorsed by a number of individuals and organisations working

directly or indirectly with asylum seekers and refugees (See list on page

2). Their staff hear similar stories and reports from their clients and

have come to similar or the same conclusions as those in this report.

Workshops were held

with young people from Afghanistan and Iraq, and additional comments were

contributed from staff members of QPASTT and participants in the Childrens

Commission Forum held at Multicultural Development Association (MDA) on

5 February 2002, who have all dealt with refugees in Queensland.

Comments from the

young people themselves and the workers were then assessed to ascertain

whether or not current practices of mandatory detention in immigration

detention centres complied with the United Nations Convention on the Rights

of the Child (CROC) and the United Nations Rules for the Protection of

Juveniles who are Deprived of their Liberty (UNRPJDL). As is evident from

the submission body, the experiences of the young people highlight the

fact that Australia is in breach of quite a few international treaty obligations

through its mandatory detainment of children.

Further, this submission

vividly shows that detention leads to immediate and long-term psychological

hardships for children. In reality, detention adds to the very torture

and trauma from which the children have fled.

Ultimately, the conclusion

and recommendation of QPASTT, YAC, and the organisations endorsing this

submission is that children and families should not be detained in immigrant

detention centres, and those currently residing in such facilities should

be released immediately.

ENDORSEMENTS

  • Phil Crane (individual

    citizen)

  • Cristy Dieckmann

    (individual citizen)

  • Ethnic Communities

    Council Queensland

  • Multicultural

    Development Association (Queensland)

  • Michael Tanksy

    (individual citizen)

  • Kara Beavis (individual

    citizen)

  • Helley Cogger

    (individual citizen)

  • Helen Twohill

    (individual citizen)

  • Mercy Family Services

    (Brisbane)

  • Brisbane Youth

    Service

  • Lisa Kennedy (individual

    citizen)

  • Logan Youth Legal

    Centre

  • Jann Taylor (individual

    citizen)

  • Kate Walker (individual

    citizen)

  • CONTACT Inc (Brisbane)
  • Denis Loft (individual

    citizen)

  • Jane Griffin (individual

    citizen)

  • Laraine Goldman

    (individual citizen)

  • Defence for Children

    International - Australia National Committee

  • Shelley Cogger

    (individual citizen)

  • Melanie Gamble

    (individual citizen)

  • Logan Legal Advice

    Centre Association Inc.

  • Queensland Law

    Society

  • Mariana Barrios

    (individual citizen)

SUBMISSION

PROCESS

YAC is a community

legal and welfare rights centre for people under the age of seventeen.

QPASTT is an organisation addressing the health and emotional needs of

refugees arriving in Queensland.

Between these two

organisations, there is a wide breadth of knowledge on the issues surrounding

children in immigration detention centres. YAC has a strong background

in advocating for the rights of children in youth justice detention centres

in this state. QPASTT has constant contact with refugees who have survived

torture and trauma, some of whom have been detained in immigration detention

centres. The knowledge of these organisations however, comes from dealing

with clients who have first-hand experiences. It was to these people with

first-hand experiences that YAC and QPASTT turned to for the primary data

in compiling this submission.

Two workshops were

held with young people from Iraq and Afghanistan. Their comments were

transcribed and have been recorded in the submission in the boxed sections.

Comments that have come directly from children holding Temporary or Permanent

Protection Visas to QPASTT staff members have also been added to the boxed

regions. The final source of primary data was comments made by participants

at the Queensland Children's Commission Forum held at the Multicultural

Development Association in Brisbane on 5 February 2002, from their experiences

in dealing with TPV and PPV holders. In the boxed sections, comments by

different people on the same issue are separated by the symbol ###.

Once these comments

were compiled, each comment was assessed with respect to its relevance

to international covenants. For the purposes of this submission, the two

international covenants most heavily relied upon are the United Nations

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CROC) and the United Nations Rules

for the Protection of Juveniles who are Deprived of their Liberty (UNRPJDL).

Under each boxed section, the covenants under CROC and/or UNRPJDL that

have most obviously been contravened are detailed in full. At the end

of each section a note commencing "See also" lists other relevant

sections that have been breached by the actions described in the boxed

section.

One of the stark

realities of the current system of mandatory detention of children is

that hopes are shattered. One comment that highlights this inexcusable

demolition of hopes for a better future follows:

"Once we

arrived [in Australia], I realised that I would have preferred to stay

in Afghanistan and be killed than to go to the detention centre…"

CONCLUSIONS

AND RECOMMENDATIONS

People can hypothesise

about what detention centres are probably like for the individuals inside,

and they can compare the physical components with those of other places.

But in reality, the only way to truly know what happens inside detention

centres, and more importantly, how living in detention centres affects

people is to ask those individuals who have lived inside. That is what

we did for this submission.

In a highly developed

and wealthy country like Australia, human rights minimums outlined in

such documents as CROC and UNRPJDL should not only be met, but should

be surpassed. However, the young people's experiences expressed in this

submission show violation after violation of internationally recognised

human rights minimums, and these violations are on many levels.

The implementation

of mandatory detention is a major human rights breach in itself because

individual circumstances are not considered, insufficient reasons for

detention are provided, and people are detained for disproportionate and

indefinite periods of time. CROC, UNRPJDL, the International Covenant

on Social and Political Rights, and many other documents all specifically

declare arbitrary detention as a violation of human rights.

In Australia's juvenile

justice system, detention is to be used only as a last resort. A basis

of Australia's [and most developed countries'] juvenile and adult justice

systems is that all people are innocent until proven guilty. Immigrant

detention policy contradicts these principles. 84% of asylum seekers are

eventually determined legitimate refugees (Edmund Rice Centre). [1]

Still, current policy deems all asylum seekers guilty, locks them up in

near-prisons without adequate information or help, deprives them of most

liberties, and then many months or sometimes years later reverses their

status to innocent. Such practices would never be permitted in either

the juvenile or adult justice systems, and even worse, they defy human

rights and dignity.

Ultimately, this

submission makes vivid that no child should be in an immigrant detention

centre. Such centres undermine the rights of children, fail to meet their

special needs, and cause immediate and long-term psychological hardships.

Thus, no alternative exists other than all children being removed from

detention centres.

…But this solution

is incomplete. The reason that separate justice systems for children were

developed around the world is because children were designated to have

special needs and require special protection; thus, the primary principle

behind separate justice systems (like Australia's) is to always act in

the best interests of the child. CROC 3 (1) and 3 (2), as well as other

human rights documents, outline the need to always act in the child's

best interests. Most experts agree that in most cases, the best interest

of the child is to remain with his/her parents; separating children from

their families is extremely mentally harmful. Therefore, the conclusion

of this submission is that there exists no acceptable alternative except

for children and their families to be immediately removed from immigrant

detention centres and for future asylum seeking children and families

to be exempt from mandatory detention.

Many refugees have

suggested, from experience, that prisons are better than detention centres

because they are more "merciful" and the inmates know how long

they will be inside; ironically, the people in prisons have been found

guilty of a crime, while the people in detention centres have been found

guilty of no crime. Children in detention centres are exposed to continuous

occurrences of self-harm, are deprived of their developmental needs, are

treated without dignity, and are forced into a state of extreme anxiety

about how long they will remain in the centre and whether they will be

sent back to the country that they fled. Refugees are individuals who

have experienced atrocities that most Australians could never even dream

about; they have already suffered more than any human should ever suffer.

Yet, instead of helping those most in need of help, Australia's mandatory

detention policy exacerbates the trauma the victims have already experienced

and obstructs their chances of attaining their potential. Australia has

no excuse for defying so many international human rights laws.

In response to a

question asking for one word to describe the detention centre, one young

person said, "prison" and another said "a grave."

These responses speak for themselves.

In summary, this

submission supports the following recommendations:

1. No children

or families should be detained in immigration detention centres, and those

currently residing in such facilities should be released immediately.

2. The Australian

Government should develop and resource an integrated and comprehensive

community placement program for asylum seekers.

DETAILED RESPONSE TO TERMS

OF REFERNCE

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

A. The conditions

under which children are detained

1. Closed versus Open Camp

and Contact with the Outside World

(A.1.1)

There are two types of camp - I spent one month in the closed camp and

one month in the open camp ### Closed camp was first and was very restrictive

- even talking to people outside the camp was restricted - the case officer

was the only person I was allowed to talk to ### In the closed camp, we

could play outside for between 15 and 20 min, then we had to go back inside.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 37(d)

Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to

prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the

right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty

before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority,

and to a prompt decision on any such action.

UNRPJDL J (59)

Every means should be provided to ensure that juveniles have adequate

communication with the outside world, which is an integral part of the

right to a fair and humane treatment and is essential to the preparation

of juveniles for their return to society. Juveniles should be allowed

to communicate with their families, friends, and other persons or representatives

of reputable outside organisations...

UNRPJDL J (61)

Every juvenile should have the right to communicate in writing or

by telephone at least twice a week with the person of his or her choice,

unless legally restricted, and should be assisted as necessary in order

effectively to enjoy this right. Every juvenile should have the right

to receive correspondence."

See also: CROC 27(1), CROC 37(c)

(A.1.2)

I saw people being separated by the guards from the general detainee population.

I saw a family being isolated from everyone else as well.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 27 (1)

Parties recognise the right of every child to a standard of living

adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social

development.

See also UNRPJDL D (32)

 

(A.1.3)

It seemed that there was lots of equipment available, but we weren't

allowed to use any of it. For example, we couldn't watch the movies that

were at the school, or even play cards. Often the equipment such as basketballs

were given to adults to use and children didn't have the opportunity to

use them at all.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 31(1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to

engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the

child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

CROC 31(2)

Parties shall respect and promote the right of the child to participate

fully in cultural and artistic life and shall encourage the provision

of appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational

and leisure activity.

UNRPJDL F (47)

Every juvenile should have the right to a suitable amount of time

for daily free exercise in the open air whenever weather permits, during

which time appropriate recreational and physical training should normally

be provided. Adequate space, installations and equipment should be provided

for these activities. Every juvenile should have additional time for daily

leisure activities, part of which should be devoted, if the juvenile wishes,

to arts and crafts skill development.

2. Essentials of living

(A.2.1)

For a long time

after I arrived at the centre, no clothes were given to us and I used

the same one pair of underwear for eight months, and then the UN people

were coming to do an inspection and we received underwear, clothes, shoes

and socks before they arrived ### We were given the same material to use

as shampoo and washing detergent, and after a while, we refused to wash

our hair with it ###. No clothes were given to us.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3(3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

UNRPJDL D (36)

…Detention facilities should ensure that each juvenile has personal

clothing suitable for the climate and adequate to ensure good health and

which should in no manner be degrading or humiliating...

See also CROC 19(1), UNRPJDL D (34)

(A.2.2)

The food at the camp was always rice - after I got out I hated to touch

rice ### Food was very YUK - it was always rice, salad, and fish.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 24(2)

Parties shall pursue full implementation of this right and, in particular,

shall take appropriate measures to combat disease and malnutrition...through

the provision of adequate nutritious foods...

(A.2.3)

For 150 - 200

people, there were 2 toilets - there was usually a 20 minute wait for

showering, using the toilets and for washing clothes.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL D (34)

Sanitary installations should be so located and of a sufficient standard

to enable every juvenile to comply, as required, with their physical needs

in privacy and in a clean and decent manner.

See also CROC 3(3)

(A. 2.4)

If there was an argument or conflict between two communities in the

camp, the staff would refuse to give essentials such as washing powder,

soap and use of facilities.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL L (67)

All disciplinary measures constituting cruel, inhuman or degrading

treatment should be strictly prohibited, including...any other punishment

that may compromise the physical or mental health of the juvenile concerned.

(A.2.5)

When visitors were due to come to the camp the staff put out big pot

plants and flowers, but these were taken away again once they left.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3(3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

See also CROC 3(1)

3. Privacy/Space

(A. 3.1)

There was not

any privacy whatsoever - when there are up to 700 people living in such

a small area, you cannot expect privacy.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 16(1)

No child shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference

with his or her privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful

attacks on his or her honour or reputation.

(A.3.2)

There are usually 8 or 9, but sometimes up to 15 people living in a

room, and many of them spend a large part of the day inside the room,

and as a result, fights about small matters come about. This is as a result

of living so closely together.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL D (33)

Sleeping accommodation should normally consist of small group dormitories

or individual bedrooms...

See also CROC 16(1), CROC 27(1)

(A.3.3)

Each room seemed to be designed to have two people in it, but they

usually had four people, or a whole family in them.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3(3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

See also CROC 16(1)

(A.3.4)

When I first arrived on Christmas Island, I had clothes and food from

Indonesia and these were confiscated. We were told that everything would

be provided at the centre and we wouldn't require any of our own materials.

### I had my own clothes - they put it all in a bin and I didn't know

why they took everything and threw it away. I kept some cassette tapes

in a pillowcase so they didn't take them.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 8(1)

Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his

or her identity, including nationality...

UNRPJDL D (35)

The possession of personal effects is a basic element of the right

to privacy and essential to the psychological well being of a juvenile.

The right of every juvenile to possess personal effects and to have adequate

storage facilities for them should be fully recognised and respected.

UNRPJDL D (36)

To the extent possible, juveniles should have the right to use their

own clothing...

See also CROC 37©

4. Discrimination at camp

(A. 4.1)

There was discrimination

in the camp between Iraqi and Iranian detainees on the one hand and Afghan

refugees on the other - if there were supplies etc, the Iraqis and Iranians

received them first.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 2(2)

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that the child

is protected against all forms of discrimination or punishment on the

basis of the status, activities, expressed opinions, or beliefs of the

child's parents, legal guardians, or family members.

See also CROC 2(1)

5. Economic exploitation

at camp

(A. 5.1)

There were also

other things that stood out for me - such as there being a shop but the

prices being crazy - for example a t-shirt that I could buy here for $5

would be $25 from that shop.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 32(1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to be protected from economic

exploitation...

 

(A.5.2)

Another example is that an adult I knew worked full-time in the kitchen

in the camp - outside I think he would earn $500 per week, but in the

camp he got only $25 per week.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 32(1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to be protected from economic

exploitation...

See also UNRPJDL E (46)

(A.5.3)

Most people in the camp have no money whatsoever. Many people apply

for the jobs in the camp, and there is always a wait when people are trying

to get a job.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 27(1)

Parties recognise the right of every child to a standard of living

adequate for the child's physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social

development.

6. The detention/application

process

(A.6.1)

I had spent 2 days on Christmas Island when a person came and said that

at 6 o'clock the next morning some of us would leave, and then the rest

would go in the afternoon. When we asked where we were going and why,

we were not told and it was explained that it was a DIMA decision and

that the guards could not say anything about it.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL B (26)

The transport of juveniles should be carried out...in conditions

that should in no way subject them to hardship or indignity...

UNRPJDL M (76)

Every juvenile should have the right to make a request or complaint,

without censorship as to substance, to the central administration, the

judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels,

and to be informed of the response without delay.

See also CROC 37(c), CROC 37(d)

(A.6.2)

When we arrived we were told that if we told a lie about our case we

would be sent to prison for ten years.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 19(1)

Parties shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social

and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical

or mental violence...while in the care of parent (s), legal guardian (s)

or any other person who has the care of the child.

(A.6.3)

Most people come from small villages in Afghanistan - they are not

ready for the interviews when they first arrive - they are almost dizzy,

and still can't walk properly on the land because they had been on a small

boat for anywhere between 10 and 30 days ### Then the people try so hard

to prepare for the interviews - I think that they should be allowed a

time at least to ready themselves, and should be given an information

session about what the interviews mean and why they are done etc.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL B (24)

On admission, all juveniles shall be given a copy of the rules governing

the detention facility and a written description of their rights and obligations

in a language they can understand, together with the address of the authorities

competent to receive complaints, as well as the address of public or private

agencies and organisations which provide legal assistance. For those juveniles

who are illiterate or who cannot understand the language in the written

form, the information should be conveyed in a manner enabling full comprehension.

UNRPJDL B (25)

All juveniles should be helped to understand the regulations governing

the internal organisation of the facility, the goals and methodology of

the care provided, the disciplinary requirements and procedures, other

authorised methods of seeking information and of making complaints, and

all such other matters as are necessary to enable them to understand fully

their rights and obligations during detention.

(A.6.4)

It is so frightening in the interviews, and people are unable to express

themselves properly - it is so complicated and alien to them that they

cannot cope.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 37 (c)

Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and

respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner

which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age...

CROC 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment, which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

See also CROC 3(3), UNRPJDL 2

(A.6.5)

I kept requesting to meet with someone from DIMA but this did not ever

happen after my initial interviews... Everyone in the camp wanted an early

answer, but then if a rejection comes, we can't find out why and are not

given reasons.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL 1

Affirms that the placement of a juvenile in an institution should

always be a disposition of last resort and for the minimum necessary period.

UNRPJDL M (75)

Every juvenile should have the opportunity of making requests or

complaints to the director of the detention facility and to his or her

authorised representative.

UNRPJDL M (76)

Every juvenile should have the right to make a request or complaint,

without censorship as to substance, to the central administration, the

judicial authority or other proper authorities through approved channels,

and to be informed of the response without delay.

See also CROC 19(1), CROC 27(1), croc 37(b)

(A.6.6)

There was nowhere to officially complain about what was happening to

you in terms of your future etc, but about the food and day to day complaints

there was a box that you could place complaints in.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL M (75)

Every juvenile should have the opportunity of making requests or

complaints to the director of the detention facility and to his or her

authorised representative.

See also CROC 12(1), croc 37(d)

(A.6.7)

I know people who have been there in a detention centre for 2 years.

### I was in a detention centre for 6 months. When my visa application

was rejected after an entry interview, I was put in isolation. I felt

like I was treated like an animal, and I saw many people harming themselves

as a result of the circumstances.

 

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC

37(b)

No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily.

The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity

with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for

the shortest appropriate period of time.

See also UNRPJDL 1

7. Language difficulties/Discrimination

in application process/Arbitrary Detention/Access to assistance

(A.7.1)

Sometimes, case

officers would receive letters asking for information, such as "is

this person really from Afghanistan?" These letters would be given

to us, but they were all written in English so we couldn't understand

the letters, let alone be able to answer them. Then we would be in trouble

for not providing a further explanation to DIMA. We were told that it

was our fault if we couldn't understand the questions in the letters.

We were told that we needed to find someone ourselves who could speak

English and reply that way. If we couldn't it was viewed by DIMA as our

own problem, but sometimes in the camp there wouldn't be anyone we could

ask to help. ### In relation to the interpreting, there were communication

problems. For example, the Hazara ethnic group speak a dialect of Dari

with some differences to Dari. Some of those people hadn't even been to

Kabul before and spoke only their own dialect. So some of their words

were not translated correctly, and so the officials think that they might

be Pakistani etc. ### The differences in language between Dari and Iranian

Farsi caused the most problems. ### I have a friend who received a rejection

and he found out afterwards that there was a 28 day appeal period - these

rights were not explained to him at the time by anyone, so he did not

know what he had to do after the initial rejection.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 2 (1)

Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present

Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination

of any kind irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal

guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,

national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth, or other

status.

UNRPJDL M(78)

Every juvenile should have the right to request assistance from family

members, legal counsellors, humanitarian groups or others where possible,

in order to make a complaint. Illiterate juveniles should be provided

with assistance should they need to use the services of public or private

agencies and organisations which provide legal counsel or which are competent

to receive complaints.

See also CROC 2(2), CROC 37 (d)

(A.7.2)

In the beginning, there were three interviews with interpreters, and

we were told that the result of our applications would come one month

after the interviews were finished. Sometimes people would not have any

response at all for months and months. Sometimes DIMA would ask for clarification

such as an explanation as to why a certain Pakistani word was used by

the detainee in an interview... I know of a person whose application was

rejected after 8 months in a camp. He used one word that was not commonly

used in Dari (it is more commonly used by Iranians), and that was the

main reason for the rejection. Also, Kabul was listed in his passport,

but he said that he lived in a small village in the interview. Problems

like that caused visas to be rejected.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 37(b)

No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily.

The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity

with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for

the shortest appropriate period of time…

See also UNRPJDL 1, CROC 37(d)

(A.7.3)

In my dealings with DIMA I did not trust them at all - the number of

visas that were issued in the beginning was quite high, then it became

more difficult to obtain a visa. Then occasionally if objections were

made, some people would be released. It felt like a lottery and I couldn't

see the method in the decisions.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 37 (b)

No child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily.

The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity

with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for

the shortest appropriate period of time

See also UNRPJDL 1, International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Art 9

(A.7.4)

I have another friend who found out what to do and he is doing an appeal

- he doesn't have a lawyer though and so has to do it himself and he is

only 14 years old.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 37(d)

Every child deprived of his or her liberty shall have the right to

prompt access to legal and other appropriate assistance, as well as the

right to challenge the legality of the deprivation of his or her liberty

before a court or other competent, independent and impartial authority,

and to a prompt decision on any such action.

UNRPJDL M(78)

Every juvenile should have the right to request assistance from family

members, legal counsellors, humanitarian groups or others where possible,

in order to make a complaint. Illiterate juveniles should be provided

with assistance should they need to use the services of public or private

agencies and organisations which provide legal counsel or which are competent

to receive complaints.

See also UNRPJDL B (24)

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

B. Health, including

mental health, development and disability

1. Medical Services at camp

(B.1.1)

The medical assistance

is totally different in the camp to what it is outside.

A QPASTT worker describes

what young people have expressed to them:

  • Children saw

    parents were in pain and felt helplessness in seeing them receiving

    limited attention about their health from the medical doctor

  • Children were

    living in constant worries and distress from knowing and seeing that

    their parents are worried about their future

  • Children witnessed

    their love ones and/or other adults were being violent or attempted

    suicide

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 2(1)

Parties shall respect and ensure the rights set forth in the present

Convention to each child within their jurisdiction without discrimination

of any kind irrespective of the child's or his or her parent's or legal

guardian's race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion,

national, ethnic or social origin, property, disability, birth, or other

status.

CROC 39:

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

See also CROC 2(2), CROC 3(1), (2) and (3), CROC 6(2), CROC 24(1), CROC

27(1), CROC 37(c)

 

 

(B.1.2)

One example is that I had a friend who was 16 years old. He was not

feeling well and said that he had a pain in his body. He went to the medical

centre and asked for some medicine and they told him to go away and drink

some water. They refused to do anything more than that for him. He was

so nervous and mad with the situation that he beat himself. [He was then

put in prison by himself for one week - there were about four people in

the prison at that time but they were each kept separately in separate

cells].... That friend in fact had a broken leg - he had had stitches

in Afghanistan, and then when he was in the detention centre he had received

painkillers sometimes, but on that day he was not allowed any.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 24(1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to the enjoyment of the

highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment

of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to

ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right to access to such

health care services.

CROC 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment, which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

UNRPJDL 2

Recognises that, because of their high vulnerability, juveniles deprived

of their liberty require special attention and protection and their rights

and wellbeing should be guaranteed during and after the period when they

are deprived of their liberty.

UNRPJDL H (51)

The medical services provided to juveniles should seek to detect

and should treat any physical or mental illness.... Every detention facility

for juveniles should have immediate access to adequate medical facilities

and equipment appropriate to the number and requirements of its residents

and staff trained in preventive health care and the handling of medical

emergencies. Every juvenile who is ill, who complains of illness or who

demonstrates symptoms of physical or mental difficulties, should be examined

promptly by a medical officer.

See also CROC 3(1), CROC 19(1), CROC 27(1), CROC 37(c), CROC 2(2)

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Mental distress

at camp

(B.2.1)

The most difficult

thing was not knowing anything about the future. I came with 90 people.

Only 4 of those were rejected and 85 were released. I was the only one

who did not have an answer and did not know what would happen to me. Then

6 boats arrived and some more people came into the camp and then were

released. Still, I did not know what was going to happen with my application,

and spent 10 months waiting. I did not have any idea how long I might

be in the camp. ### My first interview was in the closed camp and then

once I was in the open camp for about five weeks, we were told that we

could not ask how long we would be there. Then after the five weeks, we

were told that we would be released "at some time." ### When

I first came to the camp I thought that it looked OK but after about 10

days, without knowing the future, it changed the whole look. ###. Most

of the time people just sit outside the DIMA office and wait for an answer.

### 2 months seemed to take a long time - DIMA didn't tell us how long

we would be in there. ###. We were told one morning that we were leaving

that day, but before that we hadn't known how long we would be there.###

One four years old child used a piece of a cardboard paper and with the

help of her parents to slide her on the other side of the fence to meet

with other children

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3(1)

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public

or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative

authorities, or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall

be a primary consideration.

CROC 22(2)

…In cases where no parents or other members of the family can

be found, the child shall be accorded the same protection as any other

child permanently or temporarily deprived of his or her family environment

for any reason, as set forth in the present Convention.

CROC 20(1)

A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family

environment or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain

in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance

provided by the State.

See also CROC 13(1) and (2), CROC 19(1), Croc 20(2) and (3), CROC 37 (b)

(B.2.2)

During my time

in the camp I felt nervous and agitated and suffered from insomnia. ###

Most of the small children lost their appetites, were cranky and cried

a lot because of the situation they were in.

 

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC

24(1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to the enjoyment of the

highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment

of illness and rehabilitation of health. States Parties shall strive to

ensure that no child is deprived of his or her right to access to such

health care services.

CROC 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

See also CROC 6(2), CROC 19(1), UNRPJDL 2

(B.2.3)

When there was a release of a group of people, families and others

would gather around - everyone was glad to see that someone was leaving

but we would never know who it would be next and people feel disappointed...

Even children would be shouting "freedom" when someone was able

to leave the centre.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3(1)

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public

or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative

authorities, or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall

be a primary consideration.

See also CROC 37 (b) and (c), CROC 39

(B.2.4)

One person, after being in the camp for one year was so upset that

he climbed a tree with a rope and said that he was going to commit suicide.

The guards tried to help him and said that he would get a visa if he didn't

kill himself. I thought it was good that they tried very hard to save

his life.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL

Recognises that, because of their high vulnerability, juveniles deprived

of their liberty require special attention and protection and their rights

and wellbeing should be guaranteed during and after the period when they

are deprived of their liberty.

See also CROC 6(1) and (2)

 

A counsellor from

QPASTT explains the implications of such mental distress: "The experience

that these children have lived and confronted within the detention centre,

is no doubt added another dimension to their trauma experience and therefore

the reactions of post traumatic stress are likely be more complex and

these children are potentially the candidates for long term treatment.

In counselling sessions, these children have shown the impact of their

trauma reactions have become more acute to them and their families to

manage. For example, severe and concurrent nightmares; constant feeling

of unsafe and uncertainty; feeling helplessness and hopelessness in knowing

that their family future is unknown, profound fear for their family members

and themselves if they have to return to their countries, etc."

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

C. Education

1. Educational opportunities

(C.1.1)

For education, there is one hour per day to teach English, but it seems

that they are not really serious about teaching people English, because

of the way they teach. People want and need to start at the basics such

as the alphabet, but this was not done. Often the classes would be given

sheets of paper with words on them that we could not understand. People

very quickly lost interest. It seemed that the classes were just put in

place to pass the time. ### The teacher only taught ABC's, so once you

passed that level they didn't teach you anything more difficult.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 28(1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to education, and with a

view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity,

they shall, in particular:

(a) Make primary

education compulsory and available free to all;

(b) Encourage the development of different forms of secondary education,

including general and vocational education, make them available and

accessible to every child, and take appropriate measures such as the

introduction of free education and offering financial assistance in

case of need…

CROC 29 (1)

Parties agree that the education of the child shall be directed to:

(a) The development

of the child's personality, talents and mental and physical abilities

to their fullest potential;

(b) The development

of respect for the child's parents, his or her own cultural identity,

language and values, for the national values of the country in which

the child is living, the country from which he or she may originate,

and for civilisations different from his or her own.

(c) The preparation

of the child for responsible life in a free society, in the spirit of

understanding, peace, tolerance, equality of sexes, and friendship among

all peoples, ethnic, national and religious groups and persons of indigenous

origin.

See also CROC 6(2),

UNRPJDL E(38)

(C.1.2)

There were 3 classes

while I was in the camp, but in those classes, more than half the people

had to stand up because there was not enough furniture. This was another

factor in people dropping out. ### I did not have any schooling while

in detention - there was not any school there.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3 (3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

See also CROC 6(2), CROC 27(1), CROC 28(1)

(C.1.3)

In the camp the younger children have their courses in the morning.

Even though I was 16yo I wanted to do my schooling in the morning as well

because I found it easier to learn when I was fresh and awake. However

I was told that I had to go in the afternoon and there wasn't any room

for change.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3 (1)

In all actions concerning children, whether undertaken by public

or private social welfare institutions, courts of law, administrative

authorities or legislative bodies, the best interests of the child shall

be a primary consideration.

See also CROC 6(2), CROC 12(1), CROC 29, UNRPJDL E(38)

(C.1.4)

The teacher was very rude and she wouldn't let us use the computer

even though it was supposed to be for our use.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3(3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

CROC 28 (1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to education, and with a

view to achieving this right progressively and on the basis of equal opportunity...

See also CROC 6(2), CROC 29(1), UNRPJDL E(38)

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

D. Culture and

religion

1. Cultural and religious issues

(D.1.1)

As far as culture and religion went, we were allowed to fast when required,

but there was not enough space for praying. Even if we had tried to do

it in our rooms we couldn't do it because we were not allowed to move

the beds etc. ###. We were told that instead of having praying space the

detention centre could have 2 more beds in each room.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 8(1)

Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his

or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognised

by law without unlawful interference.

CROC 14 (1)

Parties shall respect the right of the child to freedom of thought,

conscience, and religion.

CROC 30

In those States in which ethnic, religious or linguistic minorities

… exist, a child belonging to such a minority … shall not be

denied the right, in community with other members of his or her group,

to enjoy his or her own culture, to profess and practise his or her own

religion, or to use his or her own language

UNRPJDL G (48)

Every juvenile should be allowed to satisfy the needs of his or her

religious and spiritual life, in particular by attending the services

or meetings provided in the detention facility or by conducting his or

her own services and having possession of the necessary books or items

of religious observance and instruction of his or her denomination.

See also CROC 27(1), CROC 29(1), CROC 39

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

E. Guardianship issues

1. Unaccompanied minors

(E.1.1)

The first day

I was in the camp, we were told that minors were to be helped more than

anyone else, then families were to be looked after, and then adults. In

practice I found that we (the unaccompanied minors) were not treated any

differently to anyone else.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 20 (1)

A child temporarily or permanently deprived of his or her family

environment, or in whose own best interests cannot be allowed to remain

in that environment, shall be entitled to special protection and assistance

provided by the State.

CROC 20 (2)

Parties shall in accordance with their national laws ensure alternative

care for such a child.

CROC 20 (3)

Such care could include, inter-alia, foster placement, kafalah of

Islamic law, adoption, or if necessary, placement in suitable institutions

for the care of children. When considering solutions, due regard shall

be paid to the desirability of continuity in a child's upbringing and

to the child's ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background.

UNRPJDL 2

Recognises that, because of their high vulnerability, juveniles deprived

of their liberty require special attention and protection and their rights

and wellbeing should be guaranteed during and after the period when they

are deprived of their liberty.

(E.1.2)

I have a 16 year old friend who has been in a camp for 18 months -

I am in contact with him and he said that he cries every day.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

UNRPJDL 2

Recognises that, because of their high vulnerability, juveniles deprived

of their liberty require special attention and protection and their rights

and wellbeing should be guaranteed during and after the period when they

are deprived of their liberty.

See also CROC 19(1), CROC 24(1), UNRPJDL 1, CROC 37(b), UNRPJDL H (52)

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

F. Security practices

in detention

1. The guards/discipline/freedom of expression

(F.1.1)

The people in

the camps are referred to by numbers and names are not used by staff.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 8 (1)

Parties undertake to respect the right of the child to preserve his

or her identity, including nationality, name and family relations as recognised

by law without unlawful interference.

UNRPJDL V (87)

In the performance of their duties, personnel of detention facilities

should respect and protect the human dignity and fundamental human rights

of all juveniles, in particular, as follows:

(f) All personnel

should seek to minimise any differences between life inside and outside

the detention facility which tend to lessen due respect for the dignity

of juveniles as human beings.

See also CROC 37(c), CROC 39

(F.1.2)

Once when we were outside some tourists noticed that we were guarded

and asked why - the guards replied that we might escape or do something

wrong. One of the tourists was so upset by this response that she was

crying. The guard told her not to worry because she didn't know us and

that we were not good people and that was why they were stuck with us.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 37 (c)

Every child deprived of liberty shall be treated with humanity and

respect for the inherent dignity of the human person, and in a manner

which takes into account the needs of persons of his or her age...

UNRPJDL V (87)

In the performance of their duties, personnel of detention facilities

should respect and protect the human dignity and fundamental human rights

of all juveniles, in particular, as follows:

d) All personnel

should ensure the full protection of the physical and mental health

of juveniles, including protection from physical, sexual and emotional

abuse and exploitation...

e) All personnel

should seek to minimise any differences between life inside and outside

the detention facility which tend to lessen due respect for the dignity

of juveniles as human beings.

See also CROC 2(1) and (2), CROC 3(3), CROC 19(1), CROC 27(1), CROC

29(d), CROC 39

(F.1.3)

The first thing I remember from the centre was the attitude of the

officers, and the way they related to the detainees. .The attitude of

the guards made everything so difficult. Even if you are looking for a

pair of scissors to cut your hair, or a razor, you have to see so many

officials/people. You would be passed along from one to another because

it seemed that no-one wanted to do anything for us. ### I didn't have

much to do with guards but they were not helpful in giving you things

that you requested.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 3 (3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

See also CROC 27(1), CROC 37 (c), CROC 39, UNRPJDL V (87)

(F.1.4)

Another example of the attitude of the guards was when my group of

seven people who had been in the camp for seven months, staying in one

room were told we had to stay somewhere else. The group wanted to stay

together but were told that they were to immediately vacate the room they

had been in. Members of the group said that they would do it after breakfast,

but when we returned from breakfast everything had been thrown outside

the room, including copies of the Koran and other personal effects. When

asked why this had happened, the guard beat the boy with the broken leg...

In more detail, there were 2 guards throwing material out of the room

and he was trying to find out what was happening, he was grabbed by the

throat to restrain him. He was then thrown onto the ground. The beating

of the boy with the broken leg was investigated, but it was found that

it was his fault that the incident occurred.

 

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC

3 (3)

Parties shall ensure that the institutions, services and facilities

responsible for the care or protection of children shall conform with

the standards established by competent authorities, particularly in the

areas of safety, health, in the number and suitability of their staff

as well as competent supervision.

CROC 15 (2)

No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of these rights other

than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary

in a democratic society in the interests of national security of public

safety, public order, the protection of public health or morals or the

protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

See also CROC 13(1) and (2), CROC 14(1), CROC 15(1), CROC 16(1), CROC

19(1), UNRPJDL V (87)

TERM OF REFERENCE 3

G. Play and Recreation

1. Recreational opportunities

(G.1.1)

I know of some families who were inside the camp for 9 or 10 months

without going outside at all; they did not have any relaxation or time

outside at all ### I have one 15yo friend who did not go outside the whole

time he was there ### Generally, there was not time for exercises except

for meal times, there are not really many organised activities ### Not

enough toys ### Small place for children to play ### no TV ### Weren't

allowed to listen to radio

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 17 (1)

"States Parties recognise the important function performed by

the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information

and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially

those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual and moral

well-being and physical and mental health"

CROC 31 (1)

States Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure,

to engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of

the child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

UNRPJDL F (47)

Every juvenile should have the right to a suitable amount of time

for daily free exercise in the open air whenever weather permits, during

which time appropriate recreational and physical training should normally

be provided. Adequate space, installations and equipment should be provided

for these activities. Every juvenile should have additional time for daily

leisure activities, part of which should be devoted, if the juvenile wishes,

to arts and crafts skill development...

See also CROC 3 (3), CROC 6 (2), CROC 27 (1), UNRPJDLJ (62)

(G.1.2)

It all seems to

be very selective - only a few people are chosen to do things and if you

ask why you weren't chosen, your report for the week says that your behaviour

was bad.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 31 (1)

Parties recognise the right of the child to rest and leisure, to

engage in play and recreational activities appropriate to the age of the

child and to participate freely in cultural life and the arts.

See also CROC 31(2), CROC 13(1) and (2)

TERM OF REFERENCE 4

A. The impact

of detention on the well-being and healthy development of children, including

their long-term development.

1. Leaving camp

(A. 1.1)

I was told one

afternoon that I had a visa, that I would be going to Brisbane and that

I didn't have any choice about where I was going. I had 12 hours notice

that I was leaving, but I know of people who have had only one hour's

notice.

Relevant clauses

are:

UNRPJDL 2

Recognises that, because of their high vulnerability, juveniles deprived

of their liberty require special attention and protection and their rights

and well-being should be guaranteed during and after the period when they

are deprived of their liberty.

See also UNRPJDL 1, CROC 37(b), (c) and (d), CROC 39

2. Long-term psychological

effects

(A. 2.1)

Even though I

was only in the camp for two months, I have a strange feeling whenever

Western Australia is mentioned - I can't explain it but I don't even like

it when WA or Curtin are spoken about or if I read about them in the newspaper

in relation to things other than my experiences. I don't like to talk

about my time there.

 

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC

39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

See also CROC 19(1), CROC 24(1), UNRPJDL 2

(A.2.2)

The mental distress children encounter in detention just doesn't disappear.

Two children recollect their experiences:

An officer brought

her daughter. Her parents told her not to speak with us. They said that

we are wild people. We wanted to wave to her but she didn't, because she

was scared if we were wild people. Why is that? She's a human and we are

human too.

Every day the

officers told us that the Australian people don't want you here. They

hate you. You should go home

Children in detention

are exposed to innumerable of such experiences that threaten their long-term

self-esteem and sense of belonging and security, which are essential to

their healthy development.

A QPASTT worker emphasises

that children in detention centres are forced to re-encounter previous

detriments from home:

  • witness the ongoing

    horror of violence performed by adults and between adults

  • witness and live

    with the experiences of danger, uncertainty and fear In turn, the effects

    from the long term and multiple trauma experiences that these children

    and their families have come across are exacerbated.

Some long-term impacts

on children include:

  • ongoing bad dreams
  • conscious images

    and memories of violence scenes in the detention centre

  • ongoing fear (eg.

    Leads to attachment issues and over-protection towards loved ones)

  • ongoing sense

    of danger (eg. Afraid to sleep, afraid to have a shower by oneself)

  • ongoing sense

    of loss

  • ongoing confusion

    of identity (eg. People wonder: Will I become an Australian citizen?

    Or will I be just who I am but have no real home to come to? Who am

    I?)

Recovery from torture

and trauma requires an opportunity to develop a sense of belonging and

connection with what may become their new community and which supports

recovery. Instead, children's experiences in detention are more similar

to the true story of a six year old boy who became friends with another

child in the detention centre; he began to find that sense of belonging

and connection with him.., But when the other boy's family was released,

the six year old child became very distressed and cried for many days.

When it was explained that his family could not leave the centre he became

shocked and scared.

In detention, children

and young people are subject to a threatening environment and by behaviours

of personnel who are trained to manage prisons not trained in youth work

or the psychology of supporting survivors of trauma. Such circumstances

and experiences greatly hurt children psychologically:

I felt as if I

was not in control of my future. This reinforced the fears I had through

the torture that occurred before I arrived in Australia.

A QPASTT worker describes

a fourteen year-old who spent six month in detention as now showing signs

of dissociation and numbness; his experience in detention compounded with

the torture he was victim to, leaving him without mastery over his future.

This is a common problem children experience after spending time in detention.

A feeling of darkness

came on me in the detention centre, and all my hope disappeared. My world

has been dark ever since.

I felt constantly

afraid of people killing themselves while we were in the detention centre.

A QPASTT worker relates

that another concern for the well-being and development of children is

the way that the Temporary Protection Visa leaves their future in limbo.

This has major impacts for recovery and reconnection with a new community

and can impact on individuals sense of self, future and hope. One 14 year

old from Afghanistan told her:

"It's like

the Australian government is playing with us. They give us a visa but

I don't know what is going to happen in the future. When the teacher asks

me what subjects I want to do next year I can't even answer that. I can't

think about the future because everything is unsure".

TERM OF REFERENCE 6

A. The additional

measures and safeguards which may be required to protect the human rights

and best interests of child asylum seekers and refugees residing in the

community after a period of detention.

1. Residing in

the community after a period of detention

(A.1.1)

For one month after leaving the camp I kept asking myself if I was

permitted to do what I was doing, or if I needed to ask for permission.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

See also CROC 37(b), UNRPJDL 1, UNRPJDL 2

(A.1.2)

The Department of Families tells me to forget what happened in the

camp, but I feel that they are exactly the same as the officials in the

camp - responsibility for us is passed from one person to the next and

no-one seems to want to make a decision about anything.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 39

Parties shall take all appropriate measures to promote physical and

psychological recovery and social reintegration of a child victim of:

any form of neglect, exploitation, or abuse; torture or any other form

of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment or armed conflicts.

Such recovery and reintegration shall take place in an environment which

fosters the health, self-respect and dignity of the child.

UNRPJDL N (80)

Competent authorities should provide or ensure services to assist

juveniles in re-establishing themselves in society and to lessen prejudice

against such juveniles. These services should ensure, to the extent possible,

that the juvenile is provided with suitable residence, employment, clothing,

and sufficient means to maintain himself or herself upon release in order

to facilitate successful reintegration. The representative of agencies

providing such services should be consulted and should have access to

juvenile while detained, with a view to assisting them in their return

to the community.See also UNRPJDL 2

2. At home/fear

because only have TPV

(A. 2.1)

Everything is

so unpredictable back in Afghanistan - I don't know if I would go back

there now. I think that I wouldn't go back yet even though I miss my family.

This is because everyone from the age of 8 to 70 is armed - the language

is of arms and ammunition and there is not any security. There has been

war for the last 21 years and there are so many landmines. Even if a decision

for peace was made now in Afghanistan, it could still take another 100

years to happen.

Relevant clauses

are:

CROC 39 (4)

In accordance with their obligations under international humanitarian

law to protect the civilian population in armed conflicts, States Parties

shall take all feasible measures to ensure protection and care of children

who are affected by an armed conflict.

UN Declaration

of Human Rights - Art 14:

"Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries

asylum from persecution" - Thus, asylum seekers are not illegal by

International Law that Australia ratified.

1951 Convention

relating to the status of Refugees, Art. 31:

1) States shouldn't

impose penalties on unlawful entrants if freedom or life was threatened

in the own country, as long as they "present themselves without

delay to authorities and show good cause for their illegal entry or

presence"

2) States shouldn't

restrict the movement of these asylum seekers unless necessary

Migration Act

(1958): 36.3:

Australia has no obligation for protection if people did not

take steps for rights to enter and reside in Australia BUT 36.4 and 36.5

say respectively that in cases where people have legitimate fear of persecution

or legitimate fear of being forced to another country where they will

be at risk for persecution, 36.3 does not apply.

INFORMATION FROM

QUEENSLAND CHILDRENS COMMISSION FORUM HELD AT THE MULTICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT

ASSOCIATION PREMISES.

1. There is limited

parental participation in children's activities due to parents feeling

disempowered because of lack of language skills, money, access to transport

etc.

2. Refugee children

have to travel long distances to receive specialist support and intensive

language classes as provided by Milperra.

3. Refugee children

experience significant racism within the school environment. This can

result in further stress and an exacerbation of separation anxiety.

4. There is a lack

of support and information for parents in relation to parenting between

two cultures.

5. Children take

on the role of the parents on many occasions - interpreting and other

adult tasks such as budgeting.

6. There is a lack

of coordinated settlement services to allow integration into the community.

7. Unaccompanied

minors are often required to live in unsupervised and unsupported accommodation.

8. TPV holders

are living in a state of limbo - this involves destruction of self-image

and results in complete uncertainty about the future.


1. As

the vast majority of asylum seekers will become refugees, it is essential

to also recognize that both national (Migration Act) and international

(UN Declaration of Human Rights and 1951 Convention relating to the status

of Refugees) laws clearly state that asylum seekers are legal and should

not be penalised in any way; the International Covenant on Civil and Political

Rights (Art 12) further states: "Anyone lawfully in the State should

have liberty of movement." Therefore, Australia's current policy

is to detain, and in turn, punish innocent people. And we must remember

that children, who did not make the arrangements or decision to enter

Australia and are minors, are clearly victims that need protection and

not punishment.

Last

Updated 9 January 2003.