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HREOC report into children in detention.



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M E D I A R E L E A S E

Stephen Smith MP Shadow Minister for Immigration Member for Perth

6 May 2004

HREOC REPORT INTO CHILDREN IN DETENTION

The leaked Australasian Correctional Management (ACM) document revealed by the ABCs AM program this morning about the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) report on Children in Detention underlines yet again that the Howard Government should remove all children from immigration detention.

The document is a comprehensive outline of ACM’s response to the HREOC report findings.

It clearly indicates that the Government has failed to protect the rights of children while they were held in immigration detention.

Irrespective of the views outlined in the document, or indeed ultimately in the HREOC report itself, Labor does not need an expression of view by HREOC to be absolutely convinced that it is neither in the public interest nor in the interests of children for them to be detained behind razor wire in immigration detention centres.

Labor has had this as an absolute commitment since 2002.

As well, the document underlines that the Commonwealth must accept responsibility for the management of immigration detention centres. It cannot be outsourced or privatised. Immigration detention centres must be run by Commonwealth officers on Commonwealth territory.

Labor notes that as part of the Howard Government’s ongoing denial that the Commonwealth has any responsibility for the people held in Nauru, that the Government refused to allow HREOC to undertake any scrutiny of the welfare of children previously held on Manus Island or those currently detained in Nauru. There are still more than 80

children detained in Nauru.

There has been strong speculation that Attorney General Ruddock will attempt to bury the damning findings of the HREOC Report by tabling the Report in Parliament on

Budget day, next Tuesday. Labor will do its best to ensure that whenever the report is tabled, it is subject to thorough Parliamentary scrutiny.

Contact: Courtney Hoogen on (02) 6277 4108 or 0414 364 651