Australian Aid Sector Vows to Get #KidsOffNauru
30 October 2018 at 4:39 pm
More than 120 Australian aid NGOs have vowed to ramp up efforts to get children off Nauru, as pressure mounts on the government to transfer all children remaining on the island to Australia.
During the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) annual conference on Tuesday, members unanimously passed a resolution calling on political leaders to bring every child on Nauru to Australia by Universal Children’s Day on 20 November.
The resolution was proposed by World Vision Australia CEO Claire Rogers – leader of the #KidsOffNauru campaign – who said she was sickened by the political games being played.
“There must be a bipartisan solution to ending the indefinite offshore detention of refugees who sought sanctuary in Australia,” Rogers said.
“That children should be victims of an almighty collision between policy and humanity is something we should never condone if we have learnt anything from our nation’s mistakes.”
#BREAKING: Tomorrow @WorldVisionAus CEO @ClaireSRogers will move a motion at the @ACFID conference calling on our political leaders to get the #KidsOffNauru by Universal Children’s Day on 20 November. pic.twitter.com/NYsAdyOmxb
— World Vision Aus News (@WVAnews) October 29, 2018
When the #KidsOffNauru campaign started in August, 119 children were living on the island, but the figure has now dropped to 40.
Almost all the 79 children and families medically evacuated to Australia in recent months, came via a federal court order.
But Rogers told Pro Bono News relying on medical transfers was not the solution, and that further advocacy was needed to properly resettle the children.
“These children should not have to get sick for the appropriate action to be taken,” she said.
“I think that we’re still in uncharted waters and it’s really important we call on our political leaders to solve this problem… and work out a humane and appropriate resolution for the children.”
ACFID CEO Marc Purcell said the pledge from the Australian aid sector sent a message to politicians that advocates would continue to make their voices heard until all children were safe.
“We will not rest until every child and their family on Nauru is resettled in Australia or another suitable country,” Purcell said.
“As humanitarian organisations responding to children’s need in conflicts and disasters around the world, it’s a disgrace that Australia is harming young people’s lives. It must end.”
The #KidsOffNauru campaign – which started as a coalition of around 30 organisations – now has over 300 organisations on board and 125,000 supporters.
A recent YouGov Galaxy poll found 80 per cent of Australians want the government to accept an offer for all children and their families on Nauru to be transferred to New Zealand.
But former prime minister Tony Abbott told 2GB on Monday that while kids off Nauru was a good slogan, it was a “dreadful guide to policy” that would encourage boats to come to Australia again.
“Because if we aren’t allowed to have kids on Nauru, [asylum seekers will believe] just bring some kids with you and you automatically get to Australia,” Abbott said.
The #KidsOffNauru campaign has garnered some support from within the government though, with backbencher Julia Banks becoming the first Liberal MP to publically demand that children and families on Nauru are brought to Australia.
“We could have made progress… with the New Zealand solution, but the parties are too concerned to not back down on their position to make concessions so that we can find a solution,” Banks told parliament last Thursday.