Protest as teenage asylum seekers are detained with adults

EIGHT teenage asylum seekers, all minors, have had their community housing revoked and been moved into adult detention facilities in the past fortnight, while another has run away and is missing.
The refugee group, Children Out of Immigration Detention, has written to the Immigration Minister, Chris Bowen, after one of the teenagers moved 12 days ago subsequently attempted suicide and was hospitalised on Wednesday.

Each of the revocations was authorised by Mr Bowen, and shows the federal government is taking a tough line on behaviour in community detention amid scrutiny of its plan to increase the number of boat arrivals released on bridging visas.
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But refugee advocates have complained the sudden crackdown is disproportionate, and in at least two cases, the revocation is based on incorrect reports written by carers who have since been sacked.
Teachers of the 17-year-old boy who was hospitalised in Melbourne after taking an overdose of pills were shocked to find he had been detained. The school had written glowing references for the boy and his Afghan housemate, also detained, describing them as excellent students who were polite and cooperative, were valued classmates and showed great respect to their teachers.
Pamela Curr of the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre said the boys had lived in a group home with another teenager undergoing trauma counselling, with a history of cutting himself, who ran away.
The next day, the pair were ''seized'' by 10 officers and taken to the Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation, an adult facility.
Ms Curr said detention was supposed to be for administrative purposes, and not used as punishment.
She said one of the boys had been disturbed by the repeated self-harm of his housemate so had stayed at a friend's house after school to avoid the situation, with the knowledge of his carer.
Children Out of Immigration Detention (ChilOut) spokeswoman Sophie Peer said: ''There's no precedent for sending anyone back. The minister having power to revoke detention is unheard of, and it is life threatening.''
Advocates said another two boys were moved from a Melbourne home to the Villawood Detention Centre after a verbal fight.
Ms Peer said there was no warning system for the teenagers.
A spokesman for Mr Bowen said ''decisions to revoke community placement are certainly not taken lightly'', and only a small number of the 2500 asylum seekers in the community had been revoked.
Asylum seekers ''are fully informed of the expectation that they behave in an appropriate manner''.
''We make no apology for revoking community detention placement where a person breaches these conditions, including where they behave in an aggressive, threatening or otherwise inappropriate manner.''
The Greens Senator, Sarah Hanson-Young, said the situation showed the need for a separate Children's Commissioner to be appointed as the guardian of unaccompanied minors.
''There is always a problem with conflict of interest between the minister being guardian and also deciding when they are locked up, how long and what the rules are,'' she said.
Last month, the federal government was embarrassed when teenage asylum seekers staged a rooftop protest on a community house in front of television cameras, and police were called.
Meanwhile, a 17-year-old Kuwaiti refugee who was hospitalised after a suicide attempt and whose case is being heard in the Federal Court was informed yesterday by the Immigration Department that ASIO had refused him security clearance and he would be deported. The court case continues.
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