Date: May 11 2012
AUSTRALIAN Federal Police and other government agencies will be asked to appear before a parliamentary inquiry into the imprisonment of Indonesian children in adult jails and detention centres while facing accusations of people smuggling.
The Senate yesterday agreed to a call by Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young for an inquiry into whether any Indonesian minors are still being held in Australian prisons, remand centres or detention centres.
Indonesian officials who have expressed concern about the detention of their minors will also be asked to give evidence before the inquiry reports in June.
''We need to get to the bottom of how Australian authorities can be getting this so wrong for so long and damaging children who should never be in adult prisons,'' Senator Hanson-Young said yesterday.
Attorney-General Nicola Roxon last week announced a review of 24 cases after Australian Human Rights Commissioner Catherine Branson warned that children might have been prosecuted as adults.
Ms Branson wrote to the government in March raising concern over 22 cases after evidence emerged during an inquiry into the treatment of people smugglers in custody.
The parliamentary inquiry will investigate whether there have been cases where information that a person is a minor was not put before the court, and what checks exist to ensure that evidence that those detained are minors is followed up.
It will also explore options for reparation and repatriation for any minor who has been charged as an adult, contrary to the government's policy that Indonesian minors who arrive on boats carrying asylum seekers will be returned to Indonesia.
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