Children on Nauru must be evacuated today

Children on Nauru must be evacuated today

The Human Rights Law Centre cautiously welcomed reports today that all children and their families will finally be evacuated from Nauru but warned that the evacuations must happen immediately.

Daniel Webb, Director of Legal Advocacy with the Human Rights Law Centre said the end of year deadline, as reported, was not good enough.

“Today, 38 kids who’ve spent the last five years in desperation remain trapped on Nauru. They are getting sicker by the day. They cannot wait months. They cannot wait hours. They must be evacuated now.”

“Over the last five years we have seen children on Nauru go from being playful and curious little kids to hopeless, listless little bodies on a mattress, unable to eat or speak.”

“We’ve seen their spirits slowly dissolve and the brightness slowly fade from their eyes.’

“It shouldn't have taken five years, but it's welcome news that the Government is finally conceding that these kids must be evacuated to Australia.”

The Human Rights Law Centre together with the National Justice Project, a coalition of pro bono lawyers and casewokers at the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre have been running legal challenges in the Federal Court to evacuate children to receive urgent lifesaving medical care.

Tomorrow the Australian Government is challenging the legality of these federal court applications.

“In just the last six weeks we have had to take urgent legal steps to secure medical evacuations for 31 children, some of whom doctors were saying could die within days.”

“In public the Government is saying they will quietly evacuate all children and their families, but behind the scenes they have been fighting tooth and nail in the courts to block these transfers,” said Mr Webb.

“The reality is it’s been five long years of misery and suffering. This dark chapter in our national history does not close until every man, woman and child on Manus and Nauru is finally rebuilding their lives in freedom and safety,” said Mr Webb.

For interviews:

Michelle Bennett: 0419 100 519