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RACS urges greater protection of asylum seeker children
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RACS urges greater protection of asylum seeker children

Sarah Dale

Refugee Advice and Casework Service (RACS) has called for an independent guardian to be assigned to unaccompanied children seeking protection in Australia.

Speaking at the Children, Migration and Right to Health Conference on Friday, RACS principal solicitor Sarah Dale urged for unaccompanied asylum seeker children in Australia to be supplied with an independent guardian who can advocate for their wellbeing.

The call comes after research emphasised the negative impact of detaining children, including a recent report by the Human Rights Commission which stated “closed immigration detention generally should not be used for people who are vulnerable, and should never be used for children”, Ms Dale noted.

Currently, the minister for immigration was appointed the guardian of unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia, creating a conflict of interest and leaving them without a voice who can advocate for their best interests, she added.

“The majority of these vulnerable children have suffered greatly and experienced unimaginable trauma,” Ms Dale said.

“They land in a foreign country, not speaking the language, away from their family members, and there is no one to independently manage important decisions surrounding their safety, health, wellbeing and application for protection. They are completely alone and Australia is failing children seeking asylum by not providing this support.

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“Having the role of an independent guardian would pave the way for a key decision maker to consider the best interests not only for unaccompanied children, but for all children seeking asylum in Australia.”

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Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan

Emma Ryan is the editor of Lawyers Weekly at Momentum Media.

Emma has worked for Momentum Media since 2015, and has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest stories in corporate Australia. She also directs the content for Lawyers Weekly's stable of events, including the Australian Law Awards, the Women in Law Awards and the Boutique Law Summit. 

A journalist by training, Emma has spent her career connecting with audiences across a variety of platforms, including online, podcast and radio.

She graduated from Charles Sturt University with a Bachelor of Communications (Journalism). 

You can email Emma on: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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