Working Hours for Consular Services : 09.00 – 13.00 (Monday – Friday), for any urgent inquiries please send an e-mail message to firstname.lastname@example.org |
Rabu, 16 Nopember 2011
A few weeks ago, ABC News reported that about 100 Indonesian boys were incarcerated in adult prisons in Australia for their alleged roles in people smuggling.The boys were allegedly employed as crew members of ships carrying illegal immigrants from Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, from Indonesia to Australia. As a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Australia has a duty to ensure all children are not deprived of rights set out in this convention. This convention contains the full range of child rights promotion and protection — not only civil and political dimensions, but also economic, social and cultural rights.Some of the core principles of the CRC include the right of all children to survival and development; respect for the best interests of the child as a primary consideration in all decisions relating to children; the right of all children to express their views freely on all matters affecting them; and the right of all children to enjoy all the rights of the CRC without discrimination. It is ironic that a democratic country like Australia violates the convention by detaining children in an adult prison. This indeed comes as a contrast to the country’s move in June to suspend live cattle exports to Indonesia simply because of its great concern for animal rights in place in slaughterhouses in its Southeast Asian neighbor.In 2002, Indonesia and Australia co-hosted the Bali Process, which was joined by 38 source, transit and receiving countries from throughout the Asia-Pacific region, to address the large number of illegal boat arrivals run by people smuggling operations in the region. This Ministerial Conference on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime was organized to achieve various core objectives, such as to improve cooperation among regional law enforcement agencies to deter and combat people smuggling and trafficking networks; enhance cooperation on border and visa systems to detect and prevent illegal movements; to increase public awareness to discourage these activities and warn those susceptible; to provide appropriate protection and assistance to the victims of trafficking, particularly women and children; and to enhance focus on tackling the root causes of illegal migration, including by increasing opportunities for legal migration between states.The Bali Process has provided some alternative solutions to address the issue of people smuggling. However, putting children who are allegedly involved in this illegal network in adult prisons goes against the spirit of the Bali Process.Similarly, six years ago, the Committee on the Rights of the Child, in its 40th session report, CRC/C/15/Add.268, Oct. 20, 2005, issued several recommendations to the Australian government, such as to: ensure that children are not automatically detained in the context of immigration and that detention is only used as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time; seek an assessment by a court or an independent tribunal within 48 hours of the detention of a child in the context of immigration of whether there is a real need to detain that child; improve considerably the conditions of children in immigration detention when such detention is considered necessary and in the best interests of the child, and bring them into line with international standards.The Committee also recommended that the Australian Government bring the system of juvenile justice fully in line with the Convention, in particular articles 37, 39 and 40, with other United Nations standards in the field of juvenile justice, including the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice (the Beijing Rules) and the Riyadh Guidelines, in particular to: consider raising the minimum age of criminal responsibility to an internationally acceptable level; take all necessary measures to ensure that persons under 18 who are in conflict with the law are only deprived of liberty as a last resort and detained separately from adults, unless it is considered in the children’s best interest not to do so; deal with children with mental illnesses and/or intellectual deficiencies who are in conflict with the law without resorting to judicial proceedings; improve conditions of detention of children and bring them into line with international standards; take measures with a view to abrogating mandatory sentencing in the criminal law system of Western Australia; remove children who are 17 years old from the adult justice system in Queensland.I expressed my concerns about this issue during my presentation on illegal migrants at Charles Darwin University on April 24, 2010. Luckily, I was also able to meet those Indonesian children who were detained at Darwin Immigration Detention Center. To resume, it is important to reiterate UN High Commissioner Ms Navi Pillay’s statement during her fact-finding mission to Australia on May 20-25. “I have long-standing concerns, as expressed by UN human rights treaty bodies, that Australia’s mandatory immigration detention regime is in breach of Australia’s international human rights obligations. Australia’s mandatory detention policy has for many years cast a shadow over Australia’s human rights record. Thousands of men, women and most disturbingly of all – children – have been held in Australian detention centers for prolonged periods, even though they have committed no crime.”
Hafid Abbas, Jakarta | Wed, 11/09/2011 8:50 AM
The writer is a professor at the State University of Jakarta and former director general of human rights at the Law and Human Rights Ministry. He took part in the first Bali Process in February 2002.