Saturday, June 11, 2011
Abbott's very own Devil's Island - for the protection of asylum seekers!
My interest in asylum seeker issues gathered pace as Director of the aid program put in place to leverage Nauru’s part in the policy to keep boat people outside Australia’s immigration zone, otherwise known as the ‘pacific solution’.
From a paltry few scholarships per annum, post Tampa the Australian taxpayers footed a huge bill to keep Nauru on side. Nauru was lurching toward becoming a failed state prior to the AusAID and Immigration funding that formed the ongoing ‘bribe’ to keep the detention camps open on Nauru. The treatment of asylum seekers detained on this benighted speck of guano was done in our name, paid for by our taxes.
In his statement on behalf of the Human Rights Council of Australia to the 61st Session, UN Commission on Human Rights, April 2005, Howard Glenn, Executive Director, Rights Australia, had this to say
“On the Pacific Island of Nauru, a State which like Australia, has acceded to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, there are six children whose situation is instructive. With their parents, they left Afghanistan and tried to reach refuge in Australia by boat. They were picked up by the Australian Navy in late 2001 before reaching Australia, and have spent their lives since in detention. These children have been in detention now since 2001, as part of the Australian Government’s “Pacific Solution”, a program to deter others from seeking asylum in Australia.
The three girls are now aged 14, 8 and 7; the boys are 15 and 9, and a third boy was born in detention and is two years of age. The children are amongst the last 54 of 1200 people who were detained on Nauru, in the detention camp established following the interception of the Norwegian ship, Tampa. Remaining with the children are 4 women and 44 men.
According to reports from the camp, the children are all lonely and have found it difficult to watch all the other children leaving to begin new lives. They have no friends left to play with. They of course don't understand http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifwhy they have been left behind. The parents are traumatised and find it difficult to cope with parenting in that situation. They are in a camp full of depressed people…."
Welcome to Tony Abbott's very own Devil's Island.