Category Archives: Children in detention

Berry Amnesty at the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival 17-19 October

Despite some rain members of the Berry Amnesty Local Action Group set up our Free Children in Detention activity at the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival. Thank you to the Folk Festival organisers for their support for our being there.

The activity raises awareness of the plight and number of asylum seeker children in locked detention both on and off shore. In “freeing” a toy from the caged area of our stall, people symbolically state their view that children should not be in locked detention. The toy is “freed” of its tag. The tag is a letter to local MPs that people sign declaring that children should not be in locked detention.

We’ll be at the Festival all weekend. Here’s some of the photos of Friday just after we set up to give you the flavour.

 

Take action to stop TPVs

Amnesty is asking for as many people as possible to ring Australian Senators to protest against TPVs. The campaign is set out at http://www.amnesty.org.au/refugees/comments/35495/.

Whilst the moving of asylum seekers out of offshore detention to the Australian mainland is a welcome movement, the use of TPVs is not a solution.

TPVs, previously disallowed by the Australian Senate, are a class of visa offering protection for up to three years to asylum seekers found to be genuine refugees.
TPV claims are re-assessed every three years and holders are returned to their country of origin if their claim is overturned.

TPVs are cancelled if the holder leaves Australia, and the holder cannot return. TPVs do not permit family, such as wives, husbands and children, to come to Australia.

We know from past experience that TPVs are unfair, inhumane and ineffective.

Their use during the first Pacific Solution (1999-2008) was supposed to discourage “boat people” by restricting the rights they’d be entitled to once they arrived in Australia. However, there is no evidence that TPVs have ever deterred people seeking asylum by boat.

In fact, in the two years following the introduction of TPVs, the number of boat arrivals increased, with 90 per cent of people (mostly men) granted permanent protection visas. The number of women and children risking the potentially fatal journey to Australia to reunite with their husbands and fathers also increased.

TPVs create uncertainty in the lives of asylum seekers, who constantly fear being returned home. Unable to fully settle into the community, the lives of TPV holders are put on hold for years. Stable, full-time work is harder to find because of the uncertainty of their residence, leading to a higher risk of poverty and welfare dependency. Separation from family has been shown to cause increased mental health problems for TPV holders.

Government must go further says Amnesty International

Amnesty International welcomes the announcement that the unlawful detention of children under the age of ten in onshore Immigration Detention Centres will end.

The Government has announced new bridging visa arrangements for young children and their families in onshore detention, releasing them into the community on bridging visas, if they arrived before 19 July last year.

But the continued detention of children and their families in the appalling conditions on Nauru and Christmas Island remains unaddressed.

“We support the Government’s admission that mandatory detention is costly and damaging,” said Dr Graham Thom, Refugee Coordinator for Amnesty International.

“But given this has been acknowledged by the Government, it must also release kids from detention on Nauru and Christmas Island and expand this announcement to include children over the age of ten.”

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