Australia takes step in right direction
Australia takes step in right direction with taking all kids off Nauru
World Vision New Zealand welcomes news that all refugee children have been taken off Nauru, however the case is not closed as many still face an uncertain future with no permanent settlement solution.
It was announced last week that the remaining children and their families would come off Nauru. This news follows the #KidsOffNauru campaign by multiple humanitarian organisations from across Australia and New Zealand, as well as the tireless work of human rights lawyers.
#KidsOffNauru highlighted the suffering the children faced as they were detained indefinitely on the island of Nauru. The campaign insisted the children and their families be moved to safety and permanence in New Zealand, Australia or elsewhere.
While some families have been resettled in the U.S., the remaining children have been temporarily transferred to Australia for medical treatment.
World Vision New Zealand’s National Director Grant Bayldon says it is a success that all the children have been brought off the island, but many of their futures still hang in the balance.
“We’re pleased to hear all children and their families have been moved off Nauru. However, we’d like to hear commitment from Australia that those currently in Australia will be resettled permanently and not remain in limbo as refugees,” he says.
When World Vision launched its #KidsOffNauru campaign in August there were 119 refugee children on the island.
“The pressure put on the Australian Government from both New Zealand and Australian people has shown we can affect change and make a tangible difference when we work together,” says Bayldon.
“However, we remain concerned for the physical and mental health of the more than 1000 adults who are still detained on Manus and Nauru, including the young adults who were sent there originally as unaccompanied minors.”
In July and August 2013, the Australian government introduced a policy that any asylum seeker arriving to Australia by boat would be sent to Nauru or Manus Island for processing. If found to be a refugee, they would be settled in a country other than Australia. The policies have received sustained criticism for their profound violations of human rights.
The conditions in which the refugees and asylum seekers are living are sub-standard and they lack adequate healthcare, education, and protection from sexual and physical abuse.
In 2016, more than 1,000 leaked incident reports involving children were reported by the Guardian that showed the harrowing conditions they were faced with daily. Children have grown up surrounded by fences and security guards, with few safe and child-friendly places to play. These circumstances have profound negative impacts on the mental and emotional health and growth of children, which is why World Vision campaigned for the children to come off the island.
Now, as they have been moved to Australia due to extreme health concerns, they remain in limbo as refugees as no permanent settlement solution has been determined for them.