Media Release: Refugee advocates outraged at broken promise to release all children from detention by June 1

For immediate release:
Refugee advocates outraged at broken promise to release all children from detention by June

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) condemns Chris Bowen and the Immigration Department for breaking a promise to release all children from detention by June. RAC believes that the government has adjusted their promise at various times to accommodate for their unwillingness and inability to deliver on the original promise.

According to The Age on October 19, “Mr Bowen said the government’s aim was for the “majority” of children to be out of detention by June 2011.” At the time of writing, they reported that there were 738 children in detention, and now there are more than 320 children still in detention. As RAC understands it, this does not include those children who have arrived since the government announced it would send asylum seekers to Malaysia, where the government has said it would still send children to camps where there are reports of torture and caning.

“It is clear that Labor have broken their promise,” said Refugee Action Collective spokesperson Benjamin Solah. “First they said all, then they said the majority, now it’s half. They kept moving the goal posts whilst there are still hundreds of children languishing in detention.”

“Detaining all refugees is a violation of human rights, but detaining children is particularly abhorrent. We demand Chris Bowen honour his original pledge to release all children from detention, but we also demand an end to mandatory detention as a whole.”

The Refugee Action Collective (Victoria) have called a protest for this Saturday, July 9, outside the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation in Broadmeadows at 1pm.

For further comment, contact Benjamin Solah on 0402 766 099 or bsolah@gmail.com