The Australian Greens are relieved the Attorney-General has finally agreed to review the cases of 24 convicted Indonesian boat crew who may be children. The Greens have renewed calls on the government to back Greens’ legislation already before the parliament to ensure no child is locked in an adult prison.
“Any child found to be imprisoned in an adult jail must be released and sent home to their family with a sincere apology,” Greens’ immigration and human rights spokesperson, Sen. Sarah Hanson-Young, said today.
“No child should be jailed as an adult.
“The review must be fast-tracked, with the evidence obtained directly from the families in Indonesia and excluding wrist and dental x-rays which are internationally discredited.
“The Greens again call on the government to change the law to put the onus on Australian authorities to prove that someone is an adult before they’re charged or detained as an adult.
“My Crimes Act Amendment (Fairness for Minors) Bill in the Senate would help the government achieve this and would prohibit the use of x-rays as evidence.
“While pressure from the Greens and others has forced the government to undertake this review, unless the laws are actually changed, impoverished Indonesian children will continue to be used by the government and people smugglers as scapegoats.
“I am relieved the Attorney-General has recognised the seriousness of these circumstances, despite the Prime Minister saying only two weeks ago – after the Greens called for an urgent review – that she was confident reports about minors being in adult prisons were false.
“An inquiry into the Greens’ bill heard at least five instances where Indonesian children had been detained for hundreds of days without charge and then put in custody for hundreds more before Australian courts found they were children on flawed evidence.
“The Greens hope the truth is uncovered in the review of these 24 cases, and that people found to be children will be repatriated urgently by the Gillard government in accordance with their stated policy of not prosecuting children.
“We would not accept this for an Australian child here or in Bali. The rights of children are universal and this is unacceptable for Australian and Indonesian children alike.”
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