Children's release from detention "unlawful"
I've posted this article
pretty much "as is" from CathNews.
What more can anyone say?
seeker children whom Centacare South Australia has supervised living in a
suburban Adelaide home for several months could be forced back into a
detention centre after Australia's highest court ruled their release into
the community was unlawful.
All seven High Court judges found that the Family Court did not have the
power to order the release of the children, aged seven to 15, from the
Baxter detention centre in South Australia last August.
Upholding the Federal Government's appeal, the court said the Family Court
had no jurisdiction to make orders concerning the welfare of children held
in immigration detention.
The scheme of mandatory detention of unlawful non-citizens, including
children, was valid under Australia's Constitution and the court could not
invoke international law to override those provisions, it said.
Refugee advocates had hoped the case could pave the way for the release of
the 137 children in detention centres in Australia and Nauru.
Immigration Department figures show 62 children are in immigration
detention centres in Australia, including Christmas Island, and 75 at
Nauru. Of those in Australia, 40 have been held for more than six months.
Note that The Human
Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission says this detention is a breach
of children's human rights. (Jan) CathNews continues:
director Dale West, which has responsibility for the children, said they
had been going to school, were playing sport and had made friends.
"I really hope we can negotiate to find a solution which doesn't
involve them going to back to Baxter," Mr West said.
The two boys, three girls and their mother joined their asylum seeker
father in Australia in 2001, claiming to have fled the Taliban in
But the Refugee Review Tribunal held the family were Pakistani nationals.
The boys escaped from Woomera detention centre in 2002 and on their return
the Family Court proceedings began.
The five children live with a carer and regularly visit their mother and
baby brother, who are in a nearby high-security motel. Their father is in
Baxter detention centre.
release from detention unlawful (West Australian 30/4/04)
Court reverses children in detention decision (ABC TV Lateline
overturns kids out of detention decision (ABC Radio PM 29/4/04)
may go back to detention (The Age 30/4/04)
overturns children in detention decision (ABC West Coast SA 29/4/04)
30 Apr 2004
Maybe, I'm naive. Maybe
issues of jurisdiction between what court has the power where, are much more
important than the compassion shown to children. Who cares if they are suicidal?
What matters it if their lives are screwed up forever. Perhaps it is
more important to keep Pakistani fathers who maybe didn't tell the whole
truth out of Australia. Maybe the government needs the power to act and keep
control of the country with out do- gooder judges getting in the way.
Or maybe what really is important is the life of children. So what if their
father lied (if he did)? They are here now. We have treated them, and
their parents, like dogs. Do we not owe them the chance of a decent
life and some healing, some reparation, instead of leaving them to live from
day to day not knowing if they will be shoved on a plane to God knows where.
I know which sort of country I would rather live in.