Children’s detention on Australia’s Manus Island sparks anger

The last few months have seen roughly 200 asylum seekers bracing the harsh conditions of the Australian detention center on Manus Island. Among the Asylum seekers, there are 34 children. The makeshift facilities found on the tiny South Pacific island of Papua New Guinea is Australia’s answer to offshore processing.

The knowledge that children were being detained has sparked controversy. 

This comes in the wake of Australia introducing the "No Advantage rule,” which specifies that asylum seekers, whether detained or offered temporary bridging visas, would have to wait until the claims of refugees who went through legitimate channels are processed. 

This could mean years or months for the men, women and children detained in offshore processing camps which is deemed unacceptable by Greens candidate Dianne Hiles. 

Hiles claims that such treatment of children is in direct breach of international humanitarian obligations. 

Article 22 of the Convention of the Rights of a Child, which falls under International Human Rights Law, stipulates that children seeking a refugee status shall receive appropriate protection and humanitarian assistance. A convention that Australia is party to. 

This, according to Hiles, clearly proves that the necessary checks, balances and independent overviews are not in place on Manus Island. 

And while the various bureaucratic checks and balances may or may not be negotiated at this time, children are being detained in what is described by many as a tropical nightmare, riddled with disease and lack of facilities. 

A recent UN report of Manus island has indicated that the conditions of the tiny island detention centre are harsh, humid, inadequate and cramped. Conditions that would be considered intolerant for any adult, let alone a child. 
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