Time for national focus on young refugees and migrants
August 26, 2013
The Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN) has released policy recommendations aimed at removing the barriers that many young people face when settling in Australia.
Through the ‘on the ground’ experience of its member organisations, the MYAN is uniquely positioned to identify barriers that exist across each of Australia’s states and territories. The resulting list of policy recommendations reflects the experiences of young people as they settle in Australia. National Convenor of the MYAN, Carmel Guerra explains the rationale behind the recommendations:
“The broader issues confronting young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds often reflect those faced by Australian-born young people; finishing school, getting a job, finding stable accommodation and staying physically and mentally healthy. However, this is where the similarity ends.
They commonly face additional and more complex transitions and have particular needs as they settle in Australia.
Ms Guerra goes on to highlight the three key themes that emerge across the policy recommendations:
“A common theme across Australia is the need for more targeted and coordinated support and resources, particularly in relation to education and employment pathways and the early stages of settlement,” she said.
“Each of the MYAN members highlights the need to improve national data collection mechanisms and measures in relation to education attainment and accessibility of mainstream services that are anecdotally seeing increasing numbers of young people from refugee and migrant backgrounds.
Linked to this is the need to improve cultural competency of these mainstream services so that they can work more effectively to improve the lives of these young people.”
The MYAN policy platform acknowledges the need to continue to prevent racism and discrimination through more initiatives that foster belonging and build awareness.
The MYAN also recognises the many specialist services and organisations who strongly and effectively advocate on behalf of asylum seekers. As MYAN National Coordinator Nadine Liddy highlights:
“‘In light of recent policy changes, the MYAN is extremely concerned about the plight of young people seeking protection in Australia.”
The MYAN has therefore included recommendations that include an end to mandatory ‘held’ detention for young people, education and employment rights for those on Bridging Visas and independent guardianship arrangements for Unaccompanied Minors. Australia must meet its obligations under the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), in relation to the care and support of young people seeking asylum.
The MYAN is the nationally recognised policy and advocacy body representing multicultural youth issues.
Download the full document or the Executive Summary from www.myan.org.au
Join the conversation on Twitter #MYANelection13.
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