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"..children are actually identifying themselves by their numbers, not by their names, which is shocking” letter - Nambucca Guardian

Peter Sobey (letters 7th August) is absolutely right in his comments about asylum seekers.

Our government is a signatory to the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and to other conventions, including the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The conventions make it clear that the indefinite detention of children amounts to cruel and inhumane treatment, which is unlawful.

The conditions in offshore detention centres, where asylum seekers are held behind wires in indefinite detention, with no hope of resettlement in Australia, and living in a dangerous and insanitary conditions, environment, also place the government in breach of its obligations.

The Human Rights Commissioner, following visits to Christmas Island, reports that all the children are traumatised and in poor health.  She reported in April: These children are actually identifying themselves by their numbers, not by their names, which is shocking”. Does that ring any bells?

In relation to unaccompanied children, a recently published report by the Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce puts it bluntly: “This is state sanctioned child abuse which the Taskforce believes will warrant a Royal Commission”.

How can this government, in our name, use some of the most vulnerable and traumatised people on earth as human shields to protect us from would-be asylum seekers? Have we learned nothing from our past failings as a nation  - the institutionalised sex abuse of children, the stolen generation, the forgotten generation?

Will we continue to look the other way?

It is surely time for us to tell this government that they do not act in our name.

I would encourage readers to join with the Rural Australians for Refugees, Nambucca and Bellingen Districts at the March in August on Sunday 31st August in Coffs Harbour.

For further information about our group, go to: http:/ Make your voices heard!


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