Sector Coordination Key to Getting Kids Off Nauru
21 August 2018 at 5:06 pm
An ambassador for the newly launched #KidsOffNauru campaign says cooperation within all parts of the social sector is “critical” to successfully removing the remaining children from Nauru.
A coalition of more than 30 of Australia’s leading humanitarian and human rights organisations have set a three-month deadline for the government, demanding that all 119 children be released by 20 November at the latest.
Communications director of the Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), Kelly Nicholls, told Pro Bono News she hoped the wide array of organisations involved, including FCOA, would help “to reach a broader sector of people” who weren’t aware of the children’s’ plight.
“I think that people haven’t quite realised the situation… polling data that’s going to come out [on Wednesday] shows a considerable percentage of people who actually didn’t know there were refugee and asylum seeker kids on Nauru,” Nicholls said.
Nicholls said she believed the diverse range of organisations involved in the coalition would be an effective and “critical” way to enact change.
“Each [organisation] has its strengths… some of them have a very strong media cry, others are able to mobilise huge amounts of people quickly, others have ties with organisations throughout the country at a great political entry point,” she said.
“When we work together in a coordinated way, not just for this campaign, but in general, well that’s what’s going to change policy.”
CEO of World Vision – one of the leading organisations in the campaign – Clare Rodgers, said in Canberra this week it was “clear” that indefinite detention was causing “serious harm” to the children.
“As agencies charged with protecting children’s rights we are inviting all Australians who care about children to join us in demanding these kids be released,” Rodgers said.
Despite the number of varied organisations working within the coalition, Nicholls said there had been no issues so far in regards to strategy and planning.
“People are so passionate about this change, and so they’re willing to add their specific contacts and knowledge.”
The health crisis on the island has escalated recently, with The Guardian reporting earlier this month on a young girl found to be suffering from a major depressive disorder and resignation syndrome – a condition which causes withdrawal from interaction and a refusal of food, water and communication.
Today you might hear all the excuses from #auspol about why we have to keep the children on Nauru. But whatever the question, destroying the lives of children is not the answer. We won't tolerate it anymore. Say it loud and proud so we can get #KIDSOFFNAURU: pic.twitter.com/1zx6O13ols
— kidsoffnauru (@kidsoffnauru) August 20, 2018
Following the announcement Save the Children were joining the campaign, CEO Paul Ronalds said: “The harsh living conditions they endure on an island the size of Melbourne Airport has created a situation of deteriorating mental and physical health.
“Children on Nauru have been left deeply traumatised by this situation which has been created and continued by the Australian government.”
There will be a number of media events throughout the three month campaign, and Nicholls said any help and support from within the sector was welcomed.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an individual, a small, or large organisation… the more voices the better,” she said.