Labor wants the federal government to remove all the remaining children in detention from Nauru.Labor has joined a chorus of voices piling pressure on the federal government to get the remaining children in offshore detention on Nauru off the Pacific island.
As refugee advocates kicked off a campaign to free the children, Labor penned a letter on Monday urging Home Affairs Peter Dutton to accept New Zealand’s standing offer to resettle 150 refugees.
“Labor is seriously concerned by reports regarding the health and welfare of children in the Australian-funded regional processing centre on Nauru,” opposition immigration spokesman Shayne Neumann said on Monday.
“If Peter Dutton is too distracted by his leadership ambitions to address his failure to manage Australian-funded regional processing centres or negotiate other third country resettlement options, it’s time for Malcolm Turnbull to step in and clean up his minister’s mess.”
A coalition of more than 30 advocacy groups will lobby politicians as part of the ‘Kids off Nauru’ campaign calling for the children to be brought to Australia.
Campaigners say 119 children remain detained on Nauru, some of whom have been there for close to four years.
Kelly Nicholls from the Refugee Council of Australia said there was a deep concern for all those detained offshore, and for children in particular.
“There have been consistent reports of children attempting suicide and self-harm,” she said.
“Worryingly, in recent months, there has been an escalation of reports of children suffering ‘resignation syndrome’ where they aren’t leaving their beds and they’ve stopping eating, drinking, talking – even going to the toilet.”
Oxfam chief exec Helen Szoke said Australia needed to ensure people seeking asylum were never again subjected to indefinite detention.
“We are a nation with a strong economy, capacity to resettle a large number of people and a proven history of managing resettlement effectively,” she said.
“We can and must do more.”
Australian Associated Press