Children in Detention Report “Entirely Credible”
18 February 2015 at 4:04 pm
Australian Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson has refused to condemn the Abbott Government for attacking his President Gillian Triggs over the controversial children in detention report.
However at a speech to the National Press Club to mark his first anniversary in the role, Wilson said the human consequences detailed in The Forgotten Children report should not surprise anyone and its contents were “entirely credible.”
Earlier this week the Prime Minister Tony Abbott attacked the President of the Human Rights Commission, Gillian Triggs saying the Commission should be ashamed of itself and that its report was a blatant political exercise.
Tim Wilson told the Press Club: “I recognize there has been a lot of political debate surrounding this report. I won’t be fuelling any of it by offering comment.”
“The long-term arbitrary detention of children is not in anyone’s interest: theirs or ours.
“I want to focus on the human stories and the lessons from it, otherwise the Forgotten Children Report will be forgotten,” he said.
“My interest is policy and the best interests of the children.”
Wilson said he took part in the interviewing process of children in detention for inclusion in the Forgotten Children report.
“As someone who cares deeply about liberty, I found interviewing children and their families in Darwin’s detention centres confronting,” he said.
“Children struggled to be socially engaged and lacked the spontaneous energy and vitality that makes kids what they are.
“Stopping the boats and the deaths at sea does matter. The follow-through is to do what the Government is now doing: getting children, adults and families out of detention.
“Denying people, children or adults, their liberty suppresses their development and the opportunity to realize their full potential.”