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Plan International Australia describes the High Court’s decision today, to reject the argument made by the Human Rights Law Centre that offshore detention is invalid, as a devastating outcome for children.
Plan International Australia has long been on the record condemning the prolonged immigration detention of children, but it seems, that as a result of this decision children and young people are likely be returned to offshore places of detention where they have already suffered terribly.
It is not possible to ensure the health, well-being or proper development of children within the current immigration detention framework. The overwhelming evidence from experts is that the ongoing immigration detention of children is harmful.
Plan International Australia’s experience providing child protection services for children in refugee camps and humanitarian situations over the last 77 years has taught us just how vulnerable to physical and psychological harm children are in such situations.
The harm that such settings do to children is further exacerbated in offshore detention settings due to the lack of regular independent monitoring or best interests guardians for unaccompanied minors and the secrecy imposed on current contractual arrangements for service delivery in detention centres.
Such secrecy is in direct conflict with the best interests and safety of children.
Plan International Australia has called repeatedly for the introduction of an independent monitoring service for offshore immigration detention, this call has fallen on deaf ears.
In a context where there are repeated reports from numerous sources of sexual, physical and psychological abuse, we simply cannot fathom why the Australian Government is prepared to sanction the return, indeed to argue for the forced return of children to places where such harm appears to have become routine and where there is no indication from the government that appropriate measures are being put in place to safeguard or protect those children.
- Plan is one of the oldest and largest children's development organisations in the world, founded 77 years ago, working in 51 developing countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas and supported by 21 donor countries. Plan is independent, with no religious, political or governmental affiliations.