Press release: UNA NZ condemns Australian government’s deportation of a minor to New Zealand and calls for respect of human rights and international commitments. New Blog Post
18 March 2021
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
UNA NZ condemns Australian government’s deportation of a minor to New Zealand and calls for respect of human rights and international commitments.
NEW ZEALAND, 18 March 2021 - The Australian Government has deported a 15-year-old boy to New Zealand, where it is believed he has no family support system.
President of the United Nations Association of New Zealand (UNA NZ) Gaya Paranisamy says “While much of the circumstances around the deportation remains unclear, what is clear is that deporting minors does not reflect the principles and aims of international obligations and human rights.” Paranisamy cites the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice – known as ‘The Beijing Rules’.
Paranisamy says “Though this boy is being supported in his transition to New Zealand by Oranga Tamariki, the Ministry of Children, the New Zealand Government should stand up for human rights and question the concerning behaviour of the Australian government in taking such action to begin with.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child says that the best interests of the child should be of primary consideration. Removing a minor from the place they call home and forcing them into state care in a country where they appear to have no close family or cultural ties is deplorable and unacceptable. The Beijing Rules formed by the UN, of which Australia is a part, give guidance around fairly and humanely dealing with a juvenile in conflict with the law. This deportation endangers the minors ability to rehabilitate, a purpose central to the Beijing Rules.”
Paranisamy says that now is an important moment to question such government behaviours before they escalate or repeat. “This is thought to be the first instance of a minor being sent back across the Tasman. We need to check in with our neighbours about this concerning behaviour that breaks with international standards and conventions. The New Zealand Government also needs to be held accountable for not being more proactive in questioning this boy’s deportation earlier when officials appear to have known about the case for weeks.”
By adding our voices to the condemnation of this action UNA NZ has contributed to the sustained pressure on the New Zealand Government to uphold human rights and reinforce the need to oblige by international obligations. Through our ongoing work we will continue to promote engagement with and understanding of the United Nations and its aims. Such work supports the ability of civil society to hold the government accountable in instances such as this.