find the latest legal job
Senior Associate - Litigation & Dispute Resolution
Category: Litigation and Dispute Resolution | Location: Melbourne CBD & Inner Suburbs Melbourne VIC
· Come work for a firm ranked in Lawyers Weekly Top 25 Attraction Firms
View details
Associate - Workplace Relations & Safety
Category: Industrial Relations and Employment Law | Location: Brisbane CBD & Inner Suburbs Brisbane QLD
· Employer of choice · Strong team culture
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Banking and Finance Law | Location: All Perth WA
· Freelance opportunities through Vario from Pinsent Masons
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Adelaide SA
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Freelance Lawyers
Category: Other | Location: All Melbourne VIC
· • Qualified lawyer with a strong academic background
View details
Legal bodies shame govt over children in detention report

Legal bodies shame govt over children in detention report

Gillian Triggs

Lawyers have spoken out against the mandatory detention of children following the release of a “deeply shocking” report by the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC).

Claire Hammerton, spokesperson for Australian Lawyers for Human Rights, said the report revealed that the Australian government was engaged in “systematic child abuse”.

“There is no reasonable justification for the policy of keeping children in immigration detention,” she said.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s director of legal advocacy, Daniel Webb, called Australia’s treatment of asylum seeker children “one of the most punitive policy approaches in the world”.

“It’s harmful. It’s a breach of international law. It must end,” he said.

The Australian Bar Association (ABA) has called on the government to accept the report’s recommendations and release children and their families from immigration detention in Australia and Nauru.

ABA president Fiona McLeod SC said the harm to children in detention is “a matter of grave concern” and puts Australia in breach of its international obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Ms McLeod insisted that the government amend the Migration Act to strictly limit the period of time children and their families can be detained for the purposes of health, identity and security checks.

“We have independent, verifiable, categorically clear evidence provided by doctors and other trained medical professionals that children in detention are suffering horrendously,” said Australian Lawyers Alliance spokesperson Greg Barns.

Mr Barns said it was unacceptable to have a single child in detention and criticised the government for being in possession of the report since November without taking remedial action.

“In those few months, children have endured suffering that they need not have endured.”

The AHRC report, The Forgotten Children, is the product of a year-long national inquiry to investigate the impact of prolonged detention on the health, wellbeing and development of children.

The report “gives a voice” to the hundreds of children still in detention by integrating findings from five public hearings, 239 submissions and over one thousand interviews with children and parents.

It presents evidence from scholarly research and Department of Immigration and Border Protection data as well as the views of medical experts and the Australian community.

The AHRC found that there were 128 incidents of self-harm amongst children in detention over a 15-month period during 2013 and 2014.

It showed that 34 per cent of child detainees suffer from severe mental health disorders and require psychiatric support, compared to two per cent of children in the general community.

The report also revealed that children in detention were exposed to unacceptable levels of assault, including sexual assault and violence.

“Never again should any child be treated in this way in Australia’s name,” said AHRC president Professor Gillian Triggs (pictured).

Professor Triggs recently came under fire for recommending that a Papuan refugee be released from immigration detention.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Professor Triggs demonstrated “extremely questionable judgement”, but human rights groups have since said his criticisms were politically motivated and inappropriate.

Like this story? Read more:

QLS condemns actions of disgraced lawyer as ‘stain on the profession’

NSW proposes big justice reforms to target risk of reoffending

The legal budget breakdown 2017

Legal bodies shame govt over children in detention report
lawyersweekly logo
Promoted content
Recommended by Spike Native Network
more from lawyers weekly
Lawyers slam rushed consultation for SA repeat offenders bill
The Law Society of South Australia has expressed concern for a proposal to roll out new laws amendin...
The pursuit of happiness in the law
A panel of legal experts have explored how to define success in the legal profession, and how lawyer...
Queensland University of Technology, ruby milestone
Queensland law school reaches ruby milestone
Celebrating 40 years since establishing a law course in 1977, the Queensland University of Technolog...
Allens managing partner Richard Spurio, image courtesy Allens' website
Jun 21 2017
Promo season at Allens
A group of lawyers at Allens have received promotions across its PNG and Australian offices. ...
May 11 2017
Partner exits for in-house role
A Victorian lawyer has left the partnership of a national firm to start a new gig with state governm...
Esteban Gomez
May 11 2017
National firm recruits ‘major asset’
A national law firm has announced it has appointed a new corporate partner who brings over 15 years'...
Nicole Rich
May 16 2017
Access to justice for young transgender Australians
Reform is looming for the process that young transgender Australians and their families must current...
Geoff Roberson
May 11 2017
The lighter side of the law: when law and comedy collide
On the face of it, there doesn’t seem to be much that is amusing about the law, writes Geoff Rober...
May 10 2017
Advocate’s immunity – without fear or without favour but not both
On 29 March 2017, the High Court handed down its decision in David Kendirjian v Eugene Lepore & ...