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Monday, 2 May 2016
Page: 3912

Australia's Commitment to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Border Force Act 2015

To the Honourable the Speaker and Members of the House of Representatives.

This petition of students and staff of Saint Ignatius' College, Riverview, Lane Cove, NSW draws to the attention of the House the government's non-compliance with The Convention on the Rights of the Child (to which Australia has been a signatory since 1990), specifically Article 37 b, that "The arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time."

The Border Force Act 2015, Part 6, Article 42, titled 'Secrecy' subsections 1, which imposes a penalty of 2 years imprisonment for disclosing of information, thus preventing professionals such as doctors, counsellors and journalists from raising concerns about the conditions and treatment of asylum seekers. This Act also discourages asylum seekers themselves from speaking out about abuse. Non-reporting of any abuse to a child in Australia is a crime, but to report it in a detention centre is a crime.

We therefore ask the House to:

Recommit our nation to The Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which we are a signatory;

Remove off-shore mandatory detention of children; and

Remove the secrecy clause and the penalty for speaking out about human rights abuses of asylum seekers, thus allowing greater transparency of the treatment of those we hold in detention.

from 934 citizens

Petitions received.