Tag Archives: Asylum seekers

Nearly 80 years of work with children has taught us how vulnerable they are

By Ian Wishart

Founded after the Spanish Civil War, Plan began by sponsoring 300 children in a model that strengthened families and communities so that children never felt abandoned. 79 years ago, Plan’s founders, who included Anna Freud (daughter of Sigmund), recognised that children needed to grow up with security and opportunity, and be able to plan for the future.  A letter from a Plan staff member in 1939 states “we are not just giving food and beds to children living in wretched conditions, but taking them into healthy surroundings, educating them, and giving them a chance to face life with courage and understanding.” Who would want anything else for these children?

Continue reading Nearly 80 years of work with children has taught us how vulnerable they are

Where in the world are human rights abuses?

I’m part of the generation that learnt geography from playing Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego? I played the Deluxe 1992 edition at home, honing my detective skills and knowledge of capital cities.

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In this latest edition, I’d invite you to play Where In The World Are Human Rights Abuses? For this version, there is only one answer, and all the clues point to this particular country. You will be given clues from security guards, asylum seekers and a contracting company running an immigration detention centre.

First, let’s query the security guards of an immigration detention facility:

  • There are allegations that security guards paid female refugees for sex;
  • A security guard had “inappropriate” relationship with a 17-year old asylum seeker;
  • Another security guard hit an asylum seeker, who is a child, on the bum.

Hmm, this could be any country that hosts refugees and asylum seekers: Kenya, Ethiopia, Chad. There were recent reports of child rape in the Central African Republic, but these allegations were against French peacekeepers not security guards. Let’s query the asylum seekers and inspect the detention centre for more information:

  • The asylum seekers lodged 33 claims of rape or sexual assault against the security company;
  • A child who was sexually assaulted by a staff member remained in the centre;
  • 30 allegations of child abuse were made against centre staff;
  • Only two sanitary pads were given to women at any one time because these were deemed a “security” risk.
  • Asylum seekers were reportedly referred to by a number, rather than their names.

The fact that claims could be lodged by the asylum seekers and refugees suggests a bureaucracy, perhaps even a functioning one. It could be Jordan, Thailand or Pakistan. Last, let’s inspect the company running the detention centre, and the company contracted to provide healthcare, for the final clues:

  • The contract to run the detention centre is worth $1.2 billion over 20 months;
  • The current company running the centre has a human rights policy, but it has only been in place for little over a week;
  • The company spied on a Senator when she visited in 2013;
  • An unexploded bomb from WWII was found under the tent that acted as a primary school.
  • The company that provides healthcare to all detention centres for this country, worth $1.6 billion, is failing. Children are receiving required vaccinations only 7% of the time.

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Over to you. Where in the world are these asylum seekers and refugees, and which country has their duty of care?

Sources: Guardian, Buzzfeed, SBS

Featured image of the world on two hands from Pixabay.