The Greens’ moves for an inquiry into the jailing of Indonesian children alongside Australian adults has been supported by revelations today the Australian Human Rights Commission has asked for an independent review into 17 similar cases.
“We’ve long held concerns about why Indonesian children have been prosecuted and convicted based on wrist x-rays to determine their age, and these concerns have been supported by the Commission’s own inquiry,” Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said.
“We welcome news today the Commission has asked the Attorney-General’s department to examine almost 20 other cases. These cases must be quickly examined because they involve people who claim to be children.
“The Greens are calling for every asylum seeker boat crew member who was found to be an adult and convicted since 2008, based on wrist x-rays to determine their age, to have their case independently reviewed.
“It is nothing short of shameful that Australia has prosecuted and jailed as an adult the Indonesian boy, Ali Jasmin, even though lawyers, immigration officials and police all had his birth certificate which states he is a child.
“There have been many other Indonesian children who’ve been detained without charge in Australia for hundreds of days because authorities did not believe their claims they were children. Some were sent home more than a year after their arrest once Australian courts determined they were minors.
“The Commonwealth Department of Public Prosecutions has confirmed at least 25 people have been convicted as adults but told authorities they were minors.
“The Greens want a ban on the use of wrist x-rays to determine someone’s age, because the discredited practice is not recommended by medical and sport professional groups in Australia and overseas. Our Fairness for Minors bill before parliament would do this.
“Peak medical expert bodies wrote to the Immigration Minister and Attorney-General in August 2011 asking the ministers urgently reconsider the use of wrist x-rays to determine ages.
“Australians do not accept Australian teens being jailed alongside adults, be it here or overseas. Parliament must review why this continues to happen to Indonesian children in Australia.”
MEDIA CONTACT: PARIS LORD 0427 604 760