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Submission to the National
Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention from
the National Association of
Community Based Children's Services (NACBCS)
The National Association
of Community Based Children's Services (NACBCS) is extremely concerned
at the briefings we have received from our colleagues about the detention
of children who are seeking asylum in Australia.
not-for-profit children's services throughout Australia; our purpose is
to advocate and assist the development of community based children's services
providing good quality care, where community is defined as the environment
in which people live and/or work.
This submission addresses
the following key questions facing the Inquiry:
- Detention and
alternatives to detention
- What is the impact
of detention on the well-being of children?
- What alternatives
to detention should be developed or implemented?
The detention of
children seeking asylum in Australia clearly breaches our obligations
as signatories to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
- Article 37 (b)
requires that children be kept in detention for the minimum time possible
- we are informed that some children are being kept in detention for
- Article 18.2 requires
that parents are assisted in their role of child rearing - provision
of good quality child care is a reasonable expectation of support.We
understand that the children in detention have no access to skilled
child care staff and so lack appropriate programming for their care
- Article 3.1 asserts
that the best interests of the child are paramount - we are concerned
at reports of a lack of adequate and appropriate toys and equipment,
especially to meet the needs of infants.
toys and equipment are vital to the stimulation required for health
development in the critical early years when the foundations are laid
for brain development.
We urge the Australian
Government to meet its international obligations to these highly vulnerable
from UN Convention on Rights of the Child
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.
2. For the purpose
of guaranteeing and promoting the rights set forth in the present Convention,
States Parties shall render appropriate assistance to parents and legal
guardians in the performance of their child-rearing responsibilities
and shall ensure the development of institutions, facilities and services
for the care of children.
shall ensure that:
(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;
Updated 22 October 2002.