Give Children In Detention What They Deserve: Their Childhood

lost_children_memoryAustralians are being urged to give back to children in detention centres what they’re being denied; a happy childhood memory.

As part of Amnesty International’s ‘Lost Children’ campaign, #ShareAmemory calls for people to share their favourite childhood memory by going to the Lost Children page or by posting it on Twitter, Facebook, or Tumblr.

“Your memories will be delivered to the Australian government along with the call to release all children on Nauru from detention, to Australia, and give them back the happy childhood they deserve,” says Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Campaign Coordinator, Graeme McGregor.

Widespread abuse of children in detention

“The children locked up by Australia on Nauru don’t need money. They don’t need toys. They need the freedom to have a happy, safe childhood,” said Graeme McGregor.

107 children are detained on Nauru. More than 60 children are detained in Australia, awaiting their return to Nauru. The conditions and treatment they experience are hidden from sight but recent reports by the Australian Human Rights Commission and the Moss Inquiry have revealed widespread abuse of children in detention.

This month, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said in Parliament that “No one wants to see children in detention. No one wants to see children in detention,” – so why are they still there?

Calls for investigation unanswered

Amnesty International has attempted to gain access to the Nauru detention centre three times and has written to Nauru’s Minister for Justice, calling for an investigation into claims of sexual assault within the centre. Months later, Amnesty International’s requests and concerns remain unanswered.

The findings of the recently released Moss Review confirmed the Australian government has been indifferent to the inhumane and dangerous conditions asylum seekers continue to face.

Harmful effects of detention can last decades

“The research shows that detaining children causes serious and long-lasting damage to their physical and mental health and development.

“When children are held in detention for more than two years they display a ten-fold increase in psychiatric disorders, including self-harm and attempted suicide.

“This damage can last for years, even decades. Adults who spent time in detention as children report continuing nightmares, anxiety, depression and difficulties in later learning as a result.

“The Australian government admitted that detention damages children and conceded it does not deter boat arrivals. So why do we continue to detain children on Nauru?”

“Help us show the government that we want give these kids a childhood, not take it away.

Take Action Today

We are asking you to share your childhood memories by posting it on Amnesty’s ‘Lost Children’ page – or by posting it on Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr with the hashtags #LostChildren #ShareAmemory.



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