Stop punishing asylum seekers: Vinnies

08/06/2011

The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia has urged the Australian Government to stop punishing asylum seekers.

Chief Executive Dr John Falzon said while appreciative of the Australian Government's responsibility to protect its borders, the St Vincent de Paul Society was deeply troubled both by the Government’s Malaysian Solution as well as by the continued detention of children.

“(Border protection concerns) do not give the Government the license to punish innocent people who are legitimately seeking a place of safety in our country,” Dr Falzon said.

“There is no place for such punitive treatment, especially of children, in a progressive society.

“Both Government and Opposition persist in treating asylum seekers as if they are to be blamed for needing to flee their countries.”

Dr Falzon called on the Government to live up to its international obligations and to observe its own 2008 commitment to use detention in an Immigration Detention Centre only as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time and to end the detention of children.

“There are currently 6,730 people in immigration detention. This includes 1,083 children,” Dr Falzon said.

“Mandatory detention, especially of children, continues to be an abuse of human rights.”

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