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Howard Lies Stating Children Out of Detention


Howard Lies Stating Children Out of Detention

The Howard Government Lies Again: Numbers Of Children In Detention

ABC news online reports today that Prime Minister says there are only two children in immigration detention centres. Both he and the Treasurer were reported as saying that they did not like to see children in custody.

The truth is that today there are 86 children held in secure detention centres in Australia and Nauru - 70 in Australia and 16 in Nauru.

Those children the Government refers to as "in the community" are a small number of Afghan children – including the Bahktiyari family – who have been released into Adelaide homes that are designated "detention centres". These children are in addition to the 86 children in custody.

The Minister for Immigration's web site states that there are currently children in the following detention centres: Villawood, Maribyrnong, Baxter, Port Augusta Residential Housing Project ( http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/borders/index.htm).

The breakdown is as follows: Villawood-36, Port Augusta-17; Nauru-16; Christmas Island-11; Maribyrnong-4; Baxter-2. All except those in Nauru are in the Australian migration zone. Yet only the two babies in Baxter detention centre are included in the Prime Minister's calculation.

ChilOut spokesperson Dianne Hiles said today, "That 86 innocent children continue to languish is deceitful in the extreme. Detention is still ruining children's lives. The callous manipulation of the figures illustrates the Government's audacious use of children as pawns."

All children must be released, with both their parents. The Migration Act must be amended to bring Australia into line with its international obligations."

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) report A last resort? recommended that all children in detention be released by 10 June 2004. The passing of this deadline without the release of the children has launched protests around the nation. A last resort? contains horrific stories of child abuse. It catalogues the sacrificing of boat children and their families in the name of border protection.

"If anyone else treated children this way they would face charges of child abuse," ChilOut spokesperson Dianne Hiles said.

CONTACTS: Dianne Hiles, 0425 244 667; Alanna Sherry, 0417 177 530.

ChilOut (Children Out Of Detention) is a group of parents and citizens opposed to the mandatory detention of children in Australian immigration detention centres.

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