Lawyers for asylum seeker children support Royal Commission
12 February 2015
Social justice law firm Maurice Blackburn, which represented baby Ferouz and over 100 other asylum seeker babies and children, has supported the recommendations of a damning landmark report released overnight on children in immigration detention.
Maurice Blackburn principal Jacob Varghese said the Australian Human Rights Commission report was an independent investigation of the harm being caused to children in detention, and its recommendations must by acted on urgently by the Federal Government.
"This report makes for very sobering reading. It cannot be ignored and its findings should give cause for all Australians, including leaders on both sides of politics, to think long and hard about our country’s record on this and the ongoing cruel policy of detaining children," said Mr Varghese.
"Maurice Blackburn strongly supports the need for a Royal Commission to properly look at the long-term impacts of detention on children and further remedies for any breaches of rights for these children. The issue is ongoing – there are still kids in detention in both Australia and Nauru.”
"Clearly the time for politicking is over, with the report identifying that Ministers from both sides of politics admitting that the practice of detaining children did not deter people from attempting to come to Australia.
"There is no excuse for detaining children and Australia can do better.”
"After many visits to detention centres on the mainland and on Christmas Island we agree wholeheartedly with the findings in this report. Our firm has acted for over 100 babies in detention in the past year alone, and a decade ago we raised this issue in the case of Shayan Badraie a child harmed by prolonged detention. We are also running a class action on behalf of anyone injured while detained on Christmas Island because we remain very concerned about the psychological and physical impact of detention on children.
"We welcome the recommendation to immediately close detention facilities on Christmas Island, as well as the recommendation that all children and their families in detention on Nauru and in Australia be released into the Australian community as quickly as practicable.
"Finally, we commend Human Rights Commissioner Professor Gillian Triggs and her team for their work in preparing this independent and crucial report.
“It’s of great concern that the Federal Government’s response seems to focus on attacking Professor Triggs, rather than assisting the 257 children who remain in detention, either in Australia or Nauru.