Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Lest we forget:
There are still 86 children in Australia's detention centres. They are suffering.
During this federal election campaign, refugee and human rights issues appear to be off the political agenda. Yet they remain urgent concerns. These are some of the reasons.
On May 13 this year, the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's report on children held in immigration detention was tabled in Federal Parliament. The abuses documented in the 900-page report are shocking. The report found children in prolonged detention suffered from anxiety, bed-wetting and self-destructive behaviour, including attempted suicide, self-mutilation and swallowing shampoos and detergents. Some have been diagnosed with psychiatric illnesses such as clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many had been caught in the middle of riots, fires and hunger strikes.