Let me get this straight: they are already arriving with ‘high rates” of STD, so we are responsible that “condoms be made available” after the fact?
We have to stop the madness: we need to keep Muslims out of Australia, period!
STD fears over asylum-seeker kids
UNACCOMPANIED minors on asylum-seeker boats are arriving with “high rates” of sexually transmitted diseases, fuelling concerns that proper child protection procedures are not being followed.
As a government-appointed advisory committee was told that Immigration Department staff lacked a “clear understanding” of child protection practices, the evidence of STDs among children seeking asylum prompted calls for condoms to be made available at “discreet locations” at the Christmas Island detention centre.
With the number of children arriving on asylum boats climbing, documents obtained by The Australian under freedom of information laws have painted an alarming picture of the state of unaccompanied minors detained within the immigration detention system. The document contains the minutes from a briefing to the detention health advisory group in May last year.
The briefing follows the visit in March of that year by child and adolescent psychiatrist Choong-Siew Yong to the Christmas Island detention centre. In the site report, Dr Yong raises concerns about the “high rates of sexually transmitted infections among UAMs (unaccompanied minors)”.
The minutes quote the Immigration Department’s chief medical officer Paul Douglas advising the group that “condoms should be made available in discrete locations wherever appropriate”.
The report by Dr Yong, a former vice-president of the Australian Medical Association who remains a member of the body’s psychiatrist group, also warns of “the apparent lack of a consistent approach to child protection across the immigration detention network”.
“In addition, staff appeared not to have a clear understanding of child protection procedures, including in relation to clients being transferred into community detention,” the report says.
There are 767 unaccompanied minors in the immigration system, held in either community detention or “APODs” — alternate places of detention. According to the department, 322 are in community detention arrangements, 69 are in APODs on Christmas Island and 376 are in community detention on the mainland.
The management of children in detention has long been one of the most politically sensitive and operationally fraught dimensions of the asylum debate.
In her farewell speech to parliament last week, Liberal MP and longstanding opponent of mandatory detention Judi Moylan castigated the detention of children. “These practices have gone on in our name and will stand as a matter of great shame,” Ms Moylan said.
The Immigration Department yesterday refused to say if there had been any allegations of physical or sexual abuse of unaccompanied minors in immigration detention, although it hinted strongly that there had been.
In response to The Australian’s inquiries, a spokeswoman said “where alleged assault occurs with a minor” policies and reporting requirements were in place.
“This includes the need to work alongside those agencies to preserve the safety and wellbeing of the minor,” the spokeswoman said.
The department added that HIV testing of all asylum-seekers was instituted in August last year.
The spokeswoman confirmed condoms were available to asylum-seekers in detention. However, she declined to say if they were available to unaccompanied minors or if restrictions were imposed on their distribution.
A member of the advisory group, Caz Coleman, said she was not surprised at the high rate of STDs among minors, defined as someone under 18.
“We know that because there can be higher instances of abuse among the unaccompanied minors in the pathway to seeking asylum,” Ms Coleman told The Australian.
“That can be either experienced in their home country or in transit.”
The campaign director for Chillout, Children Out of Immigration Detention, Sophie Peer, said the standard of protection available to minors in detention varied greatly.
“Certainly Chillout has seen in the whole detention network for many years in relation to child protection a lack of consistency between facilities and in the community.”