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Save the Children welcomes moves to get kids off Nauru as soon as possible
16 October 2018

As community pressure mounts, Save the Children implores the Australian Parliament to get kids off Nauru as soon as possible.

The child rights organisation welcomes the Opposition’s proposed legislation to make the health of children the primary consideration when determining a medical transfer from offshore detention. Save the Children also welcomes moves by other Members of Parliament, including Government MPs and the cross-bench, to bring this matter to a head on the floor of the nation’s Parliament.

Save the Children Director of Policy and International Programs Mat Tinkler said every action must be taken to ensure children in Australian-funded offshore detention get the health care they urgently need, and ultimately find a safe and sustainable place of resettlement. 

“Labor’s move to increase transparency and place responsibility squarely with the Minister is a positive step toward ensuring children get the physical and mental healthcare they need, when they need it,” Mr Tinkler said.

“We know from our own experience advocating for the transfer of vulnerable children and their families from Nauru, that existing processes are opaque and unaccountable, leaving people in limbo and without any clear outcome. While the ultimate goal remains to get kids off Nauru permanently, Save the Children understands Labor’s proposed amendments to the Migration Act will make it harder for the Minister to refuse a well-founded request for medical transfer that is in the best interests of a child."

Save the Children encourages all Members of Parliament to scrutinise the proposed legislation and work together to ensure the Parliament takes a pragmatic step towards an end to offshore detention of children on Nauru.

“More than 80 refugee and asylum seeker children are languishing indefinitely on Nauru, leading to devastating effects on their physical and mental health,” Mr Tinkler said.

“Save the Children reiterates its call for the Prime Minister to immediately accept New Zealand’s offer to settle the families effectively detained on Nauru. Many of the adolescents who Save the Children supported while working on Nauru have lived out their teenage years in limbo, and have now entered adulthood. It is vital that these vulnerable people are not forgotten.”

Between 2013 and 2015 Save the Children provided support to children and their families on Nauru. Our child protection staff, teachers and social workers witnessed first-hand the devastating physical and mental impacts of the detention of children.

For interviews, call Alex Sampson on 0429 943 027 or Jess Brennan on 0421 334 918

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