NFPs Urged to Join Save the Children Campaign
4 February 2016 at 2:36 pm
Children’s aid agency Save the Children has called on other Not for Profit organisations to get behind a campaign to stop children being sent back to immigration detention following the recent High Court decision.
The High Court of Australia found the Australian Government had acted lawfully and can send asylum seekers back to immigration detention on Nauru.
Both the United Nations and the Australian Human Rights Commission have urged the Prime Minister not return up to 267 asylum seekers currently living in Australia back to Nauru, after receiving medical treatment, as a result of the court’s decision.
Ninety-one of them are children, including 37 babies born in Australia.
Save the Children wants Australian Not for Profits to join together to stop the children being sent back.
“If we are to win this fight to make the situation better for people seeking asylum in Australia, and I do believe we will, it will take work from advocates from all sides of the political spectrum,” Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds told Pro Bono Australia News.
“We need to work together as a sector, and it’s great to be able to support efforts such as those from the Human Rights Law Centre in their High Court case and the subsequent public campaign by GetUp.
“A diverse group of voices are standing up in protest of the current regime surrounding immigration processing – churches offering sanctuary, doctors refusing to discharge their patients and thousands of ordinary Australians demanding a change.
“This should be sending a very strong message to politicians that the tide is turning. An end to the toxic debate is in sight – those in Canberra just need the courage to take it on.”
Ronalds called on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to show compassion and not dispatch 37 babies and another 50 children to Nauru from Australia.
Lee Gordon from Save the Children said he directed the child protection agency’s welfare, education and recreation services for children and adults for more than two years at the detention centre on Nauru.
“I know from experience the devastating psychological and physical harm that is caused to asylum seekers and refugees living on Nauru. While families seeking asylum on Nauru now have freedom of movement their lives are in still limbo,” Gordon said.
“We call on Prime Minister Turnbull to act with compassion and request the Department of Immigration and Border Protection to quickly process the asylum claims of the people impacted by the High Court ruling. If found to be genuine refugees, we urge him to do the decent thing and offer these vulnerable people permanent protection here in Australia.”
Gordon said that unless the Australian Government could clearly demonstrate that conditions on the island are appropriate and safe, then very high need groups such as infants, should remain in the Australian community.