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Save The Children Denounces Deportation Of Girl

Save The Children Denounces Deportation Of Sri Lankan Girl

Save the Children New Zealand has denounced the Immigration Service’s deportation of the sexually abused 16-year-old Sri Lankan girl, stressing that the decision did not appear to reflect New Zealand’s obligation to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC).

New Zealand officially adopted the UNCROC in 1993, which sets the standard for the rights of every person in the country under the age of 18.

Four Articles of the Convention are particularly applicable to the case:

Article 2, which states that all UNCROC rights apply to all children, no matter who or where they are Article 3, which states that all actions concerning children should consider their best interests Article 19, which states that the Government should protect children from all types of mistreatment; and Article 22, which states that refugee children or children seeking refuge should be given special protection.

Save the Children New Zealand’s Executive Director John Bowis said the decision to send the Sri Lankan girl home highlights the urgency of integrating the UNCROC into New Zealand law. Doing so would follow the recommendation made to the New Zealand Government by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child in October last year.1

“This case seems to suggest that the integration of the Convention into law, particularly immigration law, is a high priority,” he said. “The trauma experienced by this young person while she was in New Zealand was clearly mistreatment and an abuse of her rights.”

Mr Bowis also said that Save the Children was writing to the Associate Minister of Immigration Mr Damien O’Connor for clarification on how he thinks New Zealand’s obligation to UNCROC had been met in this case.

Save the Children’s statement follows the Children’s Commissioner’s Symposium held yesterday, entitled “Children call for an Aotearoa/New Zealand fit for us”, where 150 selected young people called for an end to child abuse altogether.

Save the Children works for: a world which respects and values each child a world which listens to children and learns a world where all children have hope and opportunity.

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