Australian Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell and Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow have today written to Minister David Coleman, calling for an urgent and compassionate resolution for the Tamil family detained in immigration detention on Christmas Island.
“Given their connection to Australia, showing compassion and allowing the family to stay together in the only community the children have known since birth is in those children’s best interests,” said Children’s Commissioner Megan Mitchell.
“In the Commission’s 2018 report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, we recommended to the government that children should only be detained as a measure of last resort.”
“The human rights, safety and wellbeing of these two children must be the number one priority,” said Australian Human Rights Commission President Rosalind Croucher.
In July this year, the Australian Human Rights Commission released a major new report, Lives on hold: Refugees and asylum seekers in the 'Legacy Caseload', which makes 31 recommendations to the Australian Government to improve human rights protections for those in the ‘Legacy Caseload.’
The report identified the prolonged delays faced by approximately 30,000 people in assessing their refugee claims and the inadequacy of the current ‘fast track process’ to safeguard against refoulement.
Priya and Nadesalingam and their two daughters Kopika, 4, and Tharunicaa, 2, who were both born in Australia, are part of the ‘Legacy Caseload’.
“The circumstances of this family, who have now been living in Australia for over six years, are a troubling example of the human rights issues faced by people in the ‘Legacy Caseload’,” said Human Rights Commissioner Edward Santow.
“The Commission is calling for urgent action to protect the human rights of this family. In the circumstances, we consider the exercise of Ministerial intervention is necessary and appropriate to ensure a compassionate resolution for this family.”