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Grave injustices against Indonesian minors but who is taking responsibility?

The Australian Greens have called on the government to make reparations to Indonesian children wrongly imprisoned as adults and bring in urgent legislative safeguards to stop such injustices happening again, after Senator Hanson-Young participated in the Detention of Indonesian Minors in Australia Senate inquiry in Canberra today.

"It is clear that great wrongs were committed against Indonesian children so it is time for the Government and Commonwealth agencies to identify those responsible, fix the laws that let it happen and compensate the children for the harms we exposed them to" said Australian Greens spokesperson for Children and Human Rights Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.

"Ordinary Australians would be aghast if a foreign nation treated our children as callously as we have treated these young Indonesians.

"Commonwealth agencies were on notice since 2010 that illiterate and terrified Indonesian children were being sentenced as adults and imprisoned in Australia alongside murderers and violent offenders.

"Having imprisoned Indonesian children in adult jails for up to 1088 days, the government and Commonwealth agencies must identify those responsible for these appalling breaches of children's rights.

"The Attorney-General's response thus far of reviewing 28 and sending back 20 Indonesian children is inadequate, and the Greens back the calls of legal professionals to establish a full review of all cases where unreliable wrist x-rays were used in age determination.

"Like the Australian Human Rights Commission's report released last month, today's Senate inquiry demonstrated how badly Australian agencies violated the rights of these children.

"We need clear processes to ensure that the Indonesian consulate, a legal representative and the child's parents are notified as soon as an Indonesian child is taken into Australian custody.

"Up to 118 Indonesian children have been subject to unreliable wrist x-rays so the Attorney-General must now look back to those files, determine how many children were wrongly imprisoned as adults for years on the basis of those x-rays, and how we can compensate them for that serious harm.

"It's simply not good enough that many children have been sent back to Indonesia without a proper apology for the serious risks they were exposed to in adult prisons. We need an appropriate administrative mechanism, with judicial review, to help determine compensation claims and provide measures to help children recover from their time in Australia's adult justice system.

"We also need urgent legal safeguards to stop this happening again, including establishing an independent Guardian for anybody who claims to be a minor so that the best interests of the child are upheld at all times.

"The Crimes Act must be amended so the crank science of wrist and dental x-rays is explicitly excluded from being used in these cases, and I already have a bill in the Senate that would achieve this.

 

Media contact: Ali Neyle or Kelly Farrow 0427 604 760

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