The Forgotten Children: HRCA Welcomes Report on Children in Detention

The Forgotten Children National Inquiry into Children in Immigration DetentionThe Human Rights Council of Australia (“the Council”) today welcomed the public release of the Australian Human Rights Commission report The Forgotten Children.

“It is vital for the protection of human rights in this country that Australia’s compliance with international human rights law is independently and objectively monitored by the Human Rights Commission,” said Council Chairperson, Andrew Naylor.

“Australia needs an independent national human rights institution to ask the hard questions and closely examine the protection of children’s human rights. The Council commends the Commission President, Professor Gillian Triggs, for her leadership and the Commission for the thoroughness and integrity of the inquiry.”

The Human Rights Commission’s report examines the impact of immigration detention on children. The findings relate to children kept detained under both the former and current federal governments. The Commission concludes that mandatory and prolonged immigration detention of children is in clear violation of international human rights law and has a profoundly negative effect on the mental health and development of children.

The Council is pleased that since the inception of the Commission’s inquiry the number of children in immigration detention has been significantly reduced. Many children, however, remain in detention.

“The Council views with concern the initial Government reaction to the Commission’s report and encourages the Government to give due and proper consideration to the report’s findings and recommendations. Our collective focus should be on promoting the human rights of children, alleviating their distress and that of their families and removing them from immigration detention as soon as possible,” said Mr Naylor.

The Human Rights Council of Australia is a non-government organisation with United Nations Special Consultative Status and is not affiliated with the Australian Human Rights Commission. The Council promotes understanding of and respect for internationally recognised human rights without discrimination.