FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 
 

Q. Who is behind the #KIDSOFFNAURU campaign?

A.  This campaign belongs to everyday people and any Australian organisation who believe we should put children first in the asylum seeker and refugee debate. The campaign was initiated by World Vision Australia. Campaign resources can be found here, and are free for anyone to use. 

 

Q. What does the #KIDSOFFNAURU campaign want? What is the solution?

A.  The Australian Parliament must act to bring every child and their family to Australia by Universal Children's Day, on November 20. They should be either resettled in Australia or in another suitable country which welcomes them. Children detained offshore should not be discriminated against and must be given a fair chance for survival and development. All decisions taken about offshore, indefinite detention must first and foremost consider the best interest of the child. This is to ensure that these children will be able to face their futures with certainty and finally start to pursue their hopes and dreams.

Whatever the solution, locking up children is not it.

 

Q. But Peter Dutton, the Minister for Home Affairs repeatedly says: "I've got every child out of detention"? 

A.  When he said this in June, 2016  the ABC Fact Check Unit concluded that his claim was 'debatable' [1] . This is in fact, a misleading comment by the Minister, designed to hide the fact that Australia still detains children on Nauru.

There are 53 children trapped on Nauru. They are not allowed to leave this tiny island the size of Melbourne Airport.

The truth is, until they are free to leave Nauru, they are still being detained!

 

Q. Why are the conditions unsuitable for children detained on Nauru? 

A. In 2016, more than 1,000 leaked incident reports involving children were reported by the Guardian. [2] Nauru is an unsuitable environment for children in detention. Many have grown up in the abnormal environment of fences and security guards, their whole life. They are growing up separated from extended families such as aunts, uncles and grandparents, or even their own parents. Access to toys and normal "childhood stuff" is limited. They have no access to quality healthcare when they are sick. There are limited safe or pleasant places to play because of unshaded, hot phosphate rock and the fear of wild dogs on the island.

At the heart of this deliberately cruel situation is that children and their families are not free to leave.

 

Q. Is the Australian Government breaking any international laws by locking up children on Nauru?

A.  The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the Convention) [3] recognises the vulnerability of children and outlines what governments and adults must do to ensure that children are provided for, protected and participate in society. The Convention provides special protections for refugee children. Australia ratified the Convention in 1990.

The detention of children is a violation of their right to freedom of movement and of Article 27 of the Convention which says every child has a right to “a standard of living adequate for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development.”. This is despite several calls from the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child for the Government of Australia to end the practice. [4]

 

Q. Will this encourage boat smugglers?

A.  Locking up children is never the answer. There is no justification for solving one problem by creating another. But history shows resettling a small number of refugees from offshore detention does not lead to an influx of boats. That's a separate issue to finally closing these offshore centres. Australia has legal and moral protection obligations to the people we have put in offshore detention on Nauru – namely, to grant freedom of movement to those recognised as refugees, and to provide timely and fair processing for those whose asylum claims are still pending.

Holding children on Nauru indefinitely violates their rights to a standard of living adequate for their physical, mental, spiritual, moral and social development - we need to bring these children to Australia and offer them protection here.

 

Q. Why would parents put their children on a boat in the first place?

A.  Asylum seekers have said they were willing to attempt a dangerous boat journey, knowing the risk of death, because what they were fleeing was worse. In the words of Numa Touray, a 17-year-old from Gambia: "I knew the journey would be dangerous but if you have the lion behind you and the sea in front of you, you take the sea. I was 100 per cent certain to die at home, 100 per cent certain to die in Libya, and thought I had a 50/50 chance to survive the sea."

What would you be willing to risk to protect your children?

“No one leaves home unless home is the mouth of a shark.” - Warsan Shire

 

Q. What about the parents and other adults? What will happen to them?

A.  We would never suggest separating children from their parents. Any solution in freeing the children, must involve freeing their parents too. The bottom line is, we want everyone off Nauru and out of offshore detention.  We are focusing on children because they are the most vulnerable and will carry damage from this hideous situation their whole lives. No-one of any age seeking refuge should live in indefinite detention. 

 

Q. What about the men on Manus?
A. Our position is that no-one should be held indefinitely in detention and that an enduring solution must be found for everyone. This campaign focuses on prioritising getting children off Nauru and finding an enduring solution, as they are particularly vulnerable.

 

Q. What about the children who are not found to be refugees?

A.  Any child whose case for refugee determination is rejected should be granted qualified, legal representation before any further action is taken.  That child should be provided with appropriate medical (including mental health) and social support care for the duration of any legal proceedings. We are speaking on behalf of children whose human rights are being denied, who are being detained against their will, who are not having their claims processed according to international law and who are having healthy childhoods taken away from them. 

 

Q. Isn’t the United State already taking refugees from Nauru for resettlement?

The previous Obama administration offered to welcomed refugees from Nauru and Manus Island as part of a deal with Australia. However, the US government has new restrictions on which nationalities it will accept as refugees. So while there has been a trickle of people transferred to the US under the arrangement, as of May 31, only 165 of the 939 refugees and asylum seekers on Nauru had been resettled in the US. Many of the 53 children and their families remaining on Nauru have no hope for resettlement in the US. These children need to be moved with their families urgently so they can start their new lives.

 

Q. Is this campaign in danger of giving children false hope? 

A.  This is a concerted effort to redirect our Political Leaders, especially Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten, towards properly resolving its responsibility towards these children who've sought protection from Australia. If Australian politicians don't step up and finally do the right thing to have these children resettled here or in a country that welcomes them, it is them withholding hope.

The #KidsOffNauru campaign is striving to free these children and give them something to live for. We can't let these children rot their lives away. 
 

Q. Why are you using photos of the children on Nauru, might this put them in danger? 

We have worked closely with the families and children involved to ensure they fully understand the use of their photos and what the campaign entails.

Case studies and photographs have been published with permission from the families (and the children’s names have been changed).  Lawyers have worked with the families to ensure they understand the implications of speaking out.

The families want the public to know the stories of the children, the fact they are trapped on Nauru, and that they have the same hopes and dreams as any other child.

 

Q. Why do our political leaders need to end the harm?

A. The Australian Parliament knows that ordinary Australians wouldn't stomach the way they are treating children on Nauru in our name. Access for the public and the media is limited. Politicians from major parties have wanted us to see them as numbers, not young children with hopes and dreams and favourite bedtime stories who're seeking a home to call their own. Without a defined end to their entrapment, they are effectively locked up on Nauru indefinitely.


In determining whether the detention of children on Nauru constitutes harm, it is then necessary to consider the extent to which the act of detention results in harm to children.


The Australian Human Rights Commission has provided overwhelming evidence in this regard, finding that: “Prolonged detention is having profoundly negative impacts on the mental and emotional health and development of children.”


Their conclusion is based on interviews with over 1000 children and parents, as well is visits to detention centres and consultations with experts. Further, in considering the culpability of Australian leaders it is worth noting that despite repeated cases of individuals requiring evacuation and medical treatment linked to the impacts of detention, and despite the extensive collective analysis indicating the level of harm the detention is causing, the Australian Government has knowingly continued this practice. This inaction meets the definition of neglect in and of itself, which further compounds the harmful nature of the current detention system.[5]

 

Q. Are we insulting the 10,000 people living on Nauru by choice?

A.  Nauruans are permitted to come and go from the island - and they do. They have passports. They have extended family members around them. They have their homes and they are surrounded by their own culture. The children being detained live in limbo on unfamiliar land and cannot leave. They might not be behind bars, but if you spent five years on an island the size of Melbourne Airport with no way of leaving, how free would you feel?

 

Q. What do you mean we haven’t been told the truth?

Most Australians don’t know there are still children detained on Nauru [6]. Our leaders are denying Australians the truth about the 53 children trapped Nauru.
The children are not allowed to leave this tiny island the size of Melbourne Airport. The politicians in Canberra don’t want you to know the names or see the faces of children on Nauru. But Australians have a right to know the conditions the refugees including 53 children are forced to endure. The truth is, until they are free to leave Nauru, they are still being detained.

 

Q. How will my personal information be used if I "join the call" to get #KIDSOFFNAURU

A.  We take your privacy seriously and will protect your personal information. If you join the call via kidsoffnauru your information will be secured by World Vision Australia. We will not email you, except to inform you of important #KidsOffNauru campaign news or opportunities to take further campaign actions.

If you joined the call via kidsoffnauru.com/savethechildren your information will be kept secure by Save The Children Australia and you will only be contacted by them.

If you joined the call via kidsoffnauru.com/oxfam your information will be kept secure by Save The Children Australia and you will only be contacted by them.

If you wish to remove yourself from the #KidsOffNauru 'call' simply unsubscribe from any campaign email you have received or send an email via the Contact Us section.

 

 

 

Footnotes: 

1. ABC Fact Check 'Why Peter Dutton's claims on the Coalition's record on refugees get mixed verdicts'

2. 1000 incident reports involving Nauru children, The Guardian

3. Australian Human Rights Commission - Convention on the Rights of the Child 

4. Committee on the Rights of the Child Sixtieth session 29 May–15 June 2012

5. Australia: Appalling Abuse, Neglect of Refugees on Nauru 

6. Essential Poll, August 2018

 

 
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