So, am doing another (probably irrelevant) 'cut 'n' paste .. in case nobody noticed.
We saw last week how to get children out of detention. Seena, a nine year old boy who lost both his parents in the Christmas Island boat tragedy, was going to be sent back into detention directly after his parents' funeral. Less than 48 hours after an outraged Australian community spoke out, the Government agreed to release Seena to the care of family members in Australia.1
But Seena is literally one child in a thousand -- that's how many refugee children are still languishing in detention.
Not every child has a camera to capture their tragedy. We don't witness the anguish on the face of every forsaken boy and girl. Yet they are no less deserving of the Government's compassion.
Next week, as the cameras move on, we must be the movement that continues to hold the Government to account, not just for Seena, but for each and every child still in detention. Click below to tell the Government that it's time to deliver on the promise to truly release refugee children from detention.
At the moral low point of the Howard Government, over 800 refugee children were in detention. Today that number has swelled to a shameful 1027 children.2Moreover, when the Howard Government began releasing children, they worked to place them within communities --whereas the Labor Government have coined the phrase 'alternative temporary detention'.
Under alternative detention, the vast majority of refugee children are still behind fences, under 24 hour guard. There is little to no freedom of movement or access to play areas. It's gotten so bad that last September a refugee advocate sounded the alarm about 150 Afghan boys held in the Darwin Lodge that hadn't left the complex since their arrival in April and 'pace the walkways like caged animals'3. The head psychologist advising the government argues that some of the much-touted 'community detention' facilities are so dilapidated that they may actually be worse for children's mental health than mainstream detention centres. 4
Let's end this tragedy. Join our campaign (in partnership with the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre) and call for an end to this inhumane policy:
Late last year Immigration Minister Chris Bowen committed to getting the majority of children out of detention altogether by June, but since then numbers have only gone up -- and without public outcry, this promise will most likely be broken. Add your name now.
Australia is better than this. Our compassion extends beyond the tragedy of one orphan. It's time to get children out of detention once and for all.
Thanks for seeing this through,The GetUp Team
PS -- Right now, in partnership with the efforts of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre, we are organising a delegation of young adult refugees, along with their guardians, to meet with the Immigration Minister and senior politicians in Canberra. Each one was once a child in detention -- and no political leader with a conscience will be able to ignore their stories or their pleas for compassion. Sign the petition and then donate to help fund the delegation.
1 http://www.smh.com.au/national/survivors-to-visit-boat-tragedy-site-20110218-1azm6.html 2 http://www.immi.gov.au/managing-australias-borders/detention/_pdf/immigration-detention-statistics-20110204.pdf3 http://www.abc.net.au/am/content/2010/s3015469.htm 4 http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/09/13/next-stop-the-darwin-airport-motel-home-to-150-asylum-seeker-teens/
GetUp is an independent, not-for-profit community campaigning group. We use new technology to empower Australians to have their say on important national issues. We receive no political party or government funding, and every campaign we run is entirely supported by voluntary donations. If you'd like to contribute to help fund GetUp's work, please donate now! If you have trouble with any links in this email, please go directly to www.getup.org.au. To unsubscribe from GetUp, please click here.Authorised by Simon Sheikh, Level 5, 116 Kippax St, Surry Hills NSW 2010
..and yep, seems that it has yet to filter through to the "powers that be"
.. but could make the wry point that every such child held "in detention" could well develop hatred.
This policy could - 'in absentia' - create a 'breeding ground' for the next round of local 'terrorists'.
Yer, i know, didn't argue that point all that well.