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ChilOut

Live export of children poised to begin


Refugee advocates are reporting movement of planes and corralling of people – including women and children – within compounds in the Christmas Island detention facilities. Fears are that the live export of families including children to overseas detention facilities – such as Manus Island and Nauru – is about to begin.

A spokesperson for the Salvation Army on Manus Island has stated that they are now preparing to receive families from Australia.

When questioned if the preparations for imminent transfer of families to Manus were going ahead the Department of Immigration and Citizenship National Communications Manager stated, "@SandiHLogan: Work continues on Manus facility in coop w PNG  & Manus Provincial Govts, yes. #DIAC does not discuss client transfers. … That #DIAC doesn't discuss client transfers in advance should not be read as a transfer is, as you asked, "imminent"."

Leila Druery, campaign manager for ChilOut states, "The government should come clean. Are families being shifted offshore any time soon? And if they are, what provisions are being made for their safety and wellbeing?"

Under changes made to law in August unaccompanied minors are to be stripped of their guardian once they leave Australian soil. What's to become of them in the overseas facilities? Will they be granted other guardians? Will they be kept separate from adult men?

Of the children generally what legal, child protection, educational rights will they have? What facilities will they be kept in? How will families be protected from malaria and other conditions that exist in the tropics? Too many questions remain unanswered.

A desperate situation is mounting in Nauru's tent encampment, with people falling ill and dealing with insufferable 42-degree heat. Storms during the week have led to flooding within the camp and detainees have stated, “Water is everywhere. The camp is like a pond, and many things, our beds, got wet.” Last week a fourth person attempted suicide, and people are reportedly on hunger strike and involved in a peaceful protest asking for their cases to be heard. Processing has not yet begun. How can children be protected from such scenes?

Ms Druery states, "We can only hope the government holds off on the transfer of families until all questions are answered. We should ensure, at the very least, that basic child rights, such as those held by Australian children, can be guaranteed. Right now that looks impossible, even basic amenities have not yet been put in place."

Media enquiries Leila Druery 0410510595.
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