NFP Calls for Child Asylum Seeker Guardian
12 November 2015 at 10:52 am
National welfare Not for Profit, the St Vincent de Paul Society, has called for the appointment of an independent guardian for unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia.
Vinnies has released a new policy framework on asylum seekers and refugees in what the Not for Profit says is an attempt to bring compassion and respect back into the asylum seeker and refugee debate.
“The St Vincent de Paul Society is calling for a new asylum seeker and refugee debate in Australia that is more compassionate and adheres to international law,” Vinnies National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon, said
“The Society’s National Council this week adopted a new policy framework that is based on our shared humanity with asylum seekers and refugees, underpinned by the principles of international cooperation, onshore resettlement and proper support to help people after they arrive.”
On the issue of children seeking asylum, the policy statement said Vinnies is aware of the conflict of interest that arises when the Minister for Immigration is also the guardian of an unaccompanied child, particularly when that child is being held in detention.
“Children are particularly vulnerable, and require a special degree of care.The Society therefore advocates for the appointment of an independent guardian for unaccompanied children seeking asylum in Australia,” the policy statement said.
“We also believe that detention must provide dignified treatment and with appropriate provision for children and other especially vulnerable people. Children seeking asylum in Australia and their families must also receive priority in release from detention.”
Falzon said the policy comes in the wake of international condemnation of Australia’s asylum seeker and refugee policy at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, and calls from hundreds of prominent Australians to close offshore detention centres.
“We call on our political leaders to accept Australia’s obligations under international law to protect the rights of all people, especially those who are fleeing war and persecution and who need our help,” he said.
“The Society continues to oppose mandatory detention and offshore processing of asylum seekers and calls for the timely processing of applications and immediate removal of children, women and men from detention centres.
“A number of countries have raised significant issues with Australia’s asylum seeker and refugee policy, including some of our closest allies, such as the United States and Britain.
“This criticism of Australia’s policies should be a wake-up call for the government to start to put in place a more humane and fair policy.”