For broadcast on 2CH Sydney, 29 Sep 2013.
One of the most tragic aspects of the current political problem of asylum seekers is the plight of children, or minors, who arrive in Australian waters and are forced to go on to Nauru or Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce has identified this as a significant concern. The Taskforce is not confident that the Abbott Government’s latest offshore processing and settlement arrangements will honour Australia’s international legal obligations, or reflect the fundamental rule of law and natural justice on which Australians rely and deeply value.
The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce believes that under no circumstances should children be held in closed immigration detention centres, let alone offshore where the Immigration Minister’s guardianship powers do not apply.
Australia’s current asylum seeker policy represents “an unconscionable abrogation of our rights and duties towards the unaccompanied children who arrive in Australia seeking our protection and care.”
I’m Rod Benson for the NSW Council of Churches.