Politicians miss Kids Off Nauru deadline

SEVENTEEN refugee children remained trapped in island detention last night on Nauru as the deadline expired for the Australian Government to evacuate them to Australia.

A coalition of Australia’s refugee and humanitarian organisations gave our political leaders three months until Universal Children’s Day (Nov 20) to remove all the children and their families for resettlement in Australia or a suitable third country that welcomes them. Most of these children had been detained indefinitely for five years on Nauru.

When the Kids Off Nauru campaign launched on August 20, there were 119 children detained on Nauru. The latest evacuations were five children and their two families on Sunday.

Most have been transferred for medical treatment of critical health problems caused by offshore detention. Last month the Australian Medical Association said the catastrophic mental and physical health conditions of particularly refugee children on Nauru was a “humanitarian emergency requiring urgent intervention”.

Yesterday marked 29 years since the establishment of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention outlines children’s civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights.

Australia is a signatory to this convention, which politicians have for years ignored by continuing to subject refugee children to indefinite detention.

The coalition of Kids Off Nauru organisations is appalled politicians have set such a poor example on human rights, despite Australia having a seat on the Human Rights Council.

More than 166,000 individual Australians, 419 organisations and 65 ambassadors have signed up to the Kids Off Nauru call in three months. At the start of the campaign, only 40 per cent of Australians knew there were children detained on Nauru. A recent poll published in the Sunday Telegraph said that awareness level had risen to 80 per cent.

The Kids Off Nauru coalition is calling for all Australians concerned about the welfare of children in indefinite detention to rally on Tuesday next week outside Parliament House in Canberra. The rally will present the petition to Parliamentarians. For more details of the event visit the Kids Off Nauru Facebook event.

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