UNHCR slams Australia’s detention of asylum seeker children

UNHCR slams Australia’s detention of asylum seeker children

The United Nations Refugee Agency is urging Australia to end the detention of asylum seeker children, saying it breaches international law and the rights of children.

This month marks 25 years since the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was created, and Australia became a signatory.

But the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says Australia is breaching the convention, by keeping child asylum seekers in immigration detention.

The UNHCR’s representative in Indonesia, Thomas Vargas, says Australia is currently detaining more than 600 children, which he says is not only inhumane, but illegal.

“We would urge any government, any government in the world, not to use children as pawns to solve a problem that is, by the way, not going to be solved by a unilateral approach,” Mr Vargas said.

“Children do not belong in detention and it is clear under international law that states should not detain them.”

He has also slammed a new aspect of Australia’s border protection policy, announced by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison this month, to limit its intake of refugeesĀ  via the UN from Indonesia, and says it won’t stop the boats.

“It may, in the short term, show some boats being stopped but these boats continue to leave from various places in the region and outside of the region,” Mr Vargas said.

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Libby Dreyer
Libby Dreyer 1729 posts

Libby has worked as a Senior Journalist at National Radio News since February 2011. She graduated with a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Canberra in December 2010.

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