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Increased quota does not undo systemic child abuse

Increased refugee quota does not undo systemic child abuse

Media Release

Wednesday March 24 2004

"Yesterday's announcement by Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone that Australia will increase refugee quota is merely a gesture to appease UNHCR Chief Ruud Lubbers who visits the minister this week, and it does not absolve Australia from its ongoing breach of International Conventions", refugee group Project SafeCom says. * Child detention: appalling hypocrisy "Hundreds of children remain detained in Australia's detention centres in flagrant breach of the International Convention of the Rights of the Child. A few weeks ago Vanstone touted incomplete statistics of children in detention: Vanstone failed at that time to tell Australians about the almost hundred children in the Nauru detention centre."

"If the Minister complains about the thousands of angry letters she gets from Australian children, she clearly has not understood that her continuing government spin needs to be replaced with abolishing child detention as well as its cruel mandatory detention regime."

"Project SafeCom supports and applauds teachers around Australia who make school children aware of the government's consistent human rights breaches - that is simply Australian Human Rights education, and its honesty is something Australia desperately needs." * Not Africa, but the Indonesian Queue "In addition, Australia's avoidance of the thousands of refugees who have been waiting for years in 'Australia's most appropriate refugee queue' in Indonesia amounts to a scandal the Howard government is systematically covering up. Last year we took just 84 refugees from that queue, and figures of 2002 (39 refugees) and 2001 (2 refugees) are a disgrace, also because it creates queue-jumpers: asylum claimants who can no longer endure the endless wait in Indonesia."

"While New Zealand resettles Indonesian refugees usually 'within weeks' of UNHCR approval, Australia systematically drags its feet - it usually takes Australia from one to two years to take in a refugee it promises to take from Indonesia."

"Instead of taking refugees from camps in Africa, Australia's first obligation is to explore what it can do to help Indonesia, itself not even a UN Convention signatory, by taking thousands more refugees from its 'regional refugee queue' ".


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