The month of May shone the spotlight on Australia’s ongoing detention of children but anyone can support the call to end child detention, globally. June 1st sees Greece become the campaign's new focus country.
Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children
Dear Campaigners,

This newsletter marks the end of the Australia focus month for the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children. Ongoing efforts will be required however to ensure the Australian government puts a stop to its damaging practice of detaining children in immigration facilities. During May, the campaign successfully gained widespread attention on the issue of child detention in Australia, working with campaign partners, gaining interest from both international & national media, meeting with Australian Members of Parliament and mobilising Australian children to speak up. The numbers of children detained in facilities across Australia has also reportedly dropped from 463 to approximately 281 during the month, as stated by Australia's Minister for Immigration. The campaign and our members acknowledge that this is an important development but also that there is much more work to be done to see our aim realised that no children are detained in Australia or indeed 
worldwide

In this newsletter you can read about the visit to Canberra by campaign partners, ChilOut and Amnesty International, along with ChilOut Youth Ambassadors, some of whom were once detained as children, in Australia. These young people met with Members of Parliament from all political parties. You can also read about media that the campaign received during the month as well as how young Australians have spoken up for children in detention. Additionally, there is information about upcoming events in Greece, the campaign's focus country for the month of June.

The global petition needs more signatures! Please spread the word so that the campaign can reach its target of 20,000 signatures by 2013!
Sign the petition to End Immigration Detention of Children

In June we are calling on your support to help us collect even more YouTube messages of support - each message representing one of the children behind bars, in detention today, in facilities throughout Greece. You can help us do this, why not ask your school to organise an event to Speak Up Behind Bars

In the month of June, Greece will be targeted with national activities. Focus countries to follow later in the year include Malaysia, South Africa, the USA, Mexico and Israel.

Jeroen Van Hove, International Campaign Coordinator @childdetention

Learn more and take action at www.endchilddetention.org

Read our lastest press release for the Australia focus month
Share the international campaign clip

In the month of June, global campaign focus shifts to Greece

On June 1st, the campaign begins its focus on Greece as a country where detention policy & practices have been subject to ongoing criticism by both civil society and UNHCR. In partnership with the Greek Council for Refugees, the Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children aims to highlight the concerns in Greece and to push for an end to immigration detention of children and for alternatives to be explored and implemented. Many children are particularly at risk in the Evros region of Greece near the Greek-Turkish border where detention conditions are deplorable. Children are detained in conditions that do not meet minimum standards and are often accomodated in overcrowded cells with un-related adults.
Activities planned for the month include a visit to a detention centre, a one-day conference in Athens on immigration detention in Greece as well as gaining further messages of support from young people in Greece and interest from international and national media.
See Greek Council for Refugees website for more information and to download report, Walls of Shame, about detention in the Evros region 

Al Jazeera story highlights campaign's focus on Australia

Al Jazeera reporter Andrew Thomas reports from Melbourne in this story which highlights the work of the campaign during the month of May as well as putting a spotlight on Australia's 20 year policy of mandatory detention. Australia is one of the only countries in the world with a policy of mandatory, indefinite detention for asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Up to 4,000 people are held under this policy and hundreds of children have also been affected. As the campaign points out, immigration detention of children is the problem, not the solution!
Read full Al Jazeera article and video

Can you help us build an art piece depicting the lives of children in detention?

The very nature of immigration detention means that the experience of children in detention is too often hidden from the public. The Global Campaign to End Detention of Children is collating creative work (drawings, letters, poems) of children in detention around the world for use in a unique and powerful art project

Robert Davis is a Melbourne-based artist well known for his use of mixed mediums to create powerful collages to tell migration stories. Robert will create an art piece expressing the damaging impact of detention on children, using the drawings, craft and scribbles made by children in detention. Drawings will be sourced from countries all over the world. The children who have created the materials will remain anonymous. 

We need your help to collect material. 
Please send us any new or old material that you think can be used by the artist before June 15th. You can mail it, scan it or photograph and e-mail it. For further information, please contact Campaign Coordinator Jeroen Van Hove or Lucy Bowring

Australian school children Speak Up Behind Bars

Approximately 20 students from a secondary school in the northern suburbs of Melbourne last week spent a night behind bars in order to simulate the lived experience of children who are detained in Australia. They also recorded messages of support as part of the video petition, Speak Up Behind Bars
As the shift in focus moves to Greece, we are calling for young people around the world to record many more messages of support! We want to match the number of children in detention in Greece for the month of June with personal messages of support from young people globally. You can record a message at home or propose it as an activity in school. Several Australian schools have organised recording sessions during the Australian focus month. Anyone, anywhere, around the world can take part however - why not ask your school community, youth network or class to get involved?
Instructions and resources for schools
Record your message at home
Example of a message of support

Formerly detained children visit Australian parliamentarians in Canberra

On 30 May, campaign partners, ChilOut and Amnesty International Australia accompanied a group of young people who are ChilOut Ambassadors to the Australian parliament. A number of these young people were detained as children in Australian immigration facilities. The group met with parliamentarians from across the politcal spectrum and shared their views on child detention. As one parliamentarian, Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young stated “it is unacceptable to detain children simply for seeking protection as refugees and it is shameful that Australia participates in detaining some children indefinitely. Most Australians agree that children shouldn’t be locked in detention centres but the laws say they must be as a matter of course. This is wrong and needs to be changed." 
Read Media Release about visit by ChilOut: A welcome to transcend politics for formerly detained children.
Read more on ChilOut blog
Further Media:
Cross party call for an end to detention (Herald Sun)
Teenager pleads for end to child detention (ABC)
Cross party call for an end to detention (SBS)

Video Petition- Young People Speak Up Behind Bars

Do you think all children should be free to play, to go to school and to be with friends? Speak up for children behind bars and record your message of support today. The campaign aims to gather as many messages from young people internationally in order to send a powerful and extraordinary call for change to the United Nations and to governments worldwide. Throughout May the campaign received many encouraging & powerful messages of suport from young people around Australia, who expressed their concerns about child detention.
View young people's messages of support on YouTube channel, Speak Up Behind Bars

See further information on the campaign website

New report on child detention by UK Refugee Council

This report Not a minor offence; unaccompanied children locked up as part of the asylum system discusses the situation of children detained in the UK as part of the asylum process because a decision has been made to treat them as adults. It explains how the Refugee Council Children’s Section helps these young people to get out of these harmful situations and it includes examples of young people who have been detained and found to be children. The report makes recommendations for policy and practice to improve the situation for other young people.

Other child detention news

Angola: 
Angola: Stop rape abuse of Congolese migrants (Human Rights Watch) 
Congolese men, women and children detained in Angola in terrible conditions with claims of widespread rape and abuse in police custody whilst awaiting deportation to Congo  
Australia: Twenty years after mandatory detention, kids still being detained (Online Opinion)
France: Response by newly elected French president Francois Hollande to appeal letter from France Terre d' Asile indicating a need to end the detention of children and families (France Terre d'Asile, in French)
UK: Child asylum seekers 'still being imprisoned' by immigration service (The Guardian)
Teenage refugees still being routinely locked up (Independent)
 

The campaign's work with the United Nations

In order to achieve maximum impact to end immigration detention of children worldwide, the campaign is working actively at the UN level. This follows the international launch in March at the 19th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.
The campaign is now gearing up for a full day of action at the 21st Session of the Human Rights Council and the Committee for the Rights of the Child (CRC) Day of General Discussion on September 28th. This will include launching an animation film, bringing formerly detained children to the UN in Geneva, and lobbying the 160 governments present to make pledges to end the immigration detention of children. For further information, contact Grant Mitchell
Copyright © 2012 Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children, All rights reserved.
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