As Parliament prepares to debate the Temporary Exclusion Order Bill this week, Save the Children is urging all sides to ensure the best interests of children are upheld and enshrined in any legislation.
Save the Children CEO Paul Ronalds said:
“Any Bill of this nature must be explicit in making sure the best interests of children are upheld, as per the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Anything less is unacceptable.
“Too often we see children being caught up in conflicts they know little about yet being treated as if they have done something wrong. Children must never be punished for the actions of their parents.
“In North East Syria right now, there are more than 40 Australian children languishing in dangerous camps. All but two are under the age of 14.
“Like millions of Syrian children, these Australian children have lived through conflict, bombardment and acute deprivation. Now they are forced to live in dangerous camps where there is no running water and extremely limited health facilities.
“We commend the Australian Government for their action to date, however we urge them to immediately move these Australian children to safety, with a view to bringing them home as quickly as possible.
“The health, wellbeing and safety of children is always paramount. It must never be a trade-off for political point scoring.”
Save the Children has made a submission to the ‘Review of the Australian Citizenship renunciation by conduct and cessation provisions of the Australian Citizenship Act 2017’, calling for provisions to ensure that the best interests of the child are upheld.
Throughout 2019, it’s Centenary year, Save the Children is calling on the Australian Government to do more to Stop the War on Children, including by repatriating the Australian children of foreign fighters from camps in North East Syria.
For media inquiries contact Evan Schuurman on 0406 117 937.