Sydney archbishop calls for release of illegal immigrant children

Dr Glenn Davies says the situation of children in detention ‘should concern every Australian’

The Archbishop of Sydney, Dr Glenn Davies, says the situation of children in detention ‘should concern every Australian’ and he has supported calls for an overhaul of the current system.

The Human Rights Commission Report says “current detention law, policy and practice does not address the particular vulnerabilities of asylum seeker children nor does it afford them special assistance and protection. Mandatory detention does not consider the individual circumstances of children nor does it address the best interests of the child as a primary consideration.” 

In a media release on Thursday, Dr Davies said governments of both parties have struggled with the issue of refugee and immigrant arrivals and says unfair political criticism has marred what should be a bi-partisan debate.

The Archbishop said it should be acknowledged that according to the latest figures there were 211 children still in detention, a dramatic fall from previous figures and a ten-fold decrease from its peak.

“Every Australian should be concerned at the plight of children in such extreme circumstances” the Archbishop said. 

“Governments must clear the way for the necessary checks to be done and then for the children to be quickly removed from detention, with their parents. It would only cause further heartache for families to be separated from each other at a time when they need each other the most.”

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