Children's Rights in Australia
The violation of children’s rights is not just an issue in poor, developing nations. Even high-income countries like Australia, Canada and the United States of America fail to meet the human rights of all children. While less prevalent, many children in developed countries still experience poverty, abuse or loss of liberty.
Despite economic growth, three million people still live in poverty in Australia. Over 731,000 of those are children, which means that one in six children are currently living in poverty. In the United States of America, over 12% of children live in poverty, and in Canada, it’s over 14%.
These may seem like surprising statistics for developed countries, but unfortunately this can occur when there is a lack of support from a government level for all citizens to assist in providing adequate standards of living. Without this support, citizens experience a denial of fundamental human rights.
The Australian Government has even been found to have violated the rights of children. The Convention on the Rights of the Child states that “any detention only be done as a last resort and for the shortest possible time,” yet thousands of children have been detained as part of youth justice policies at a state level, or by the Federal Government through immigration detention.
The recent Royal Commission into Children in Detention in the Northern Territory found that youth justice policies and practices around the use of restraints and isolation may have contravened several UN conventions and covenants on human rights or the rights of the child. And the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) found in 2004 that child asylum seekers being held in immigration centres did not have their rights protected, yet there are still more than 140 children currently detained in Australia’s offshore detention network.
Protecting human rights is a responsibility of governments and individuals. And World Vision calls for the Australian Government to live embody that responsibility in its actions at home and its advocacy abroad.