17 September, 2014 - Leading rights organisations call for immediate release of all children in immigration detention

Organisations representing millions of compassionate Australians have come together for the first time, to coordinate their expertise, experience and efforts to address the harmful impacts of immigration detention on children and their families.

Leading children’s, international development, human rights and refugee organisations from Australia, across the Asia-Pacific and internationally are calling on Australia’s leadership to release all children and their families from immigration detention.

“Economically, legally and morally, the cost to Australia of the current policies surrounding immigration is not sustainable”, said the Hon Alastair Nicholson, spokesperson for the group and Chair of Children Rights International.

“No one can tolerate deaths at sea, but neither can we tolerate severe and prolonged mistreatment of children under Australia’s care as is happening in the current system. Australia should be investing in humane and affordable alternatives, instead of spending $3 billion this year in locking up a very small number of asylum seekers, including children” said Mr Nicholson.

Recognising Australia alone cannot solve the complex challenges facing displaced people around the world, our organisations have committed to advocating for genuine cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region to offer better protection for children and their families fleeing persecution.

Attendees today included Amnesty International, Child Rights International, Human Rights Council of Australia, International Detention Coalition, Plan International Australia, Refugee Council of Australia, Save the Children, UNICEF Australia and World Vision.

Participating organisations committed to working together to provide leadership, policy alternatives and improve transparency in the immigration system.

“The treatment of children in the current system is unacceptable. It’s time to stop the harm and develop a policy every Australian can be proud of,” concluded Mr Nicholson.

Media contact: Adam Cathro, Plan International Australia, Media Relations Manager, 0488 202 945