HRA media release: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN - up to 100 of the world's most impoverished children - WHERE IS HADI?

The Human Rights Alliance Media Release:

THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN - up to 100 of the world's most impoverished children in Australian adult prisons - WHERE IS HADI?

There may be up to 100 impoverished Indonesian children in Australian adult prisons - we know for a fact the brunt of these numbers are in Western Australian prisons.

At this time some of these children's cases are being heard in Australian Courts.

We are working to compile a register of the age disputes so as to work towards their freedom as the Australian Government will not - nor will any political party nor any Government department or ministry - what dark times we live in...

Hadi Kurniawan, 16 years old, continues to languish in an Australian adult prison - HAKEA in Western Australia - yet we have provided an Indonesian Police Clearance stating his date of birth as in 1995, a letter from his brother in Indonesia to the Prime Minister of Australia, I have personally spoken to the Prime Minister, and Hadi's family has been in the news media in Indonesia pleading for his release.

Why is the Commonwealth doing this? Why has no Australian Senator raised a question about the minors in Australian adult prisons in the Australian Senate?

Who will assist us to free Hadi and the others?

If one of these children dies in our jails it shall be a death of a child in adult prison custody, a new tragic phenomena and all time low in a country that already has one of the world's most horrific deaths in custody records. If one of these children is sexually molested or raped in an adult prison who will be held responsible in terms of duty of care?

Gerry Georgatos
Convener, Human Rights Alliance
PhD Law researcher in Australian Deaths in Custody

Contact - 0430 657 309


Family pleads to Australia PM to release 16-year-old boy

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Sat, 08/06/2011 8:00 AM
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The family of Hadi Kurniawan, a sailor detained in Perth, Australia, have appealed to the Australian government to release him.

In an email sent to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Hadi’s brother Heriyandi called for charges against Hadi to be dropped.

Heriyandi said his brother should also be released because he was only 16 years old.

Ali Akbar Tanjung from the NGO Human Rights Working Group said Australia ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, under which children below the age of 18 could not face a legal process.

“Hadi is still a minor. He was born in 1995 and only graduated junior high a year ago. We ask the court in Australia to reconsider charging Hadi,” Heriyandi wrote Thursday.

Hadi’s ordeal began in early June 2010, when he and 54 asylum seekers from the Middle East departed from Indonesia to Australia by boat.

Ali said the boat was intercepted in Australian waters and that authorities believed Hadi was a people smuggler.

So far, attempts to rescue Hadi have been hindered by lost documents, which could prove he was a minor.

“All documents were lost during floods a year ago in Pekanbaru, Riau, which is Hadi’s hometown,” Ali said.

So far, he said, the Australian government had detained 500 sailors, of whom an estimated 60 to 70 were minors. He said he was disappointed by the lack of support from the
Indonesian embassy in Canberra.

“They succeeded in securing the release of three Indonesian boys from East Nusa Tenggara’s Rote Island. But now the embassy is doing nothing for other minors behind bars,” Ali said.

Last week, a Brisbane court acquitted three Indonesian boys who were arrested for being on a boat carrying asylum seekers. The boys are Ose Lani, 15, Ako Lani, 16, and John Ndollu, 17.

Ray Marcelo, the spokesman of the Australian embassy in Jakarta, said Australian law enforcement authorities investigated all persons suspected of being involved in people smuggling, including minors.

“Minors are almost always sent home,” he said.

Ray said Australia had implemented new processes to determine the age of Indonesian youth suspected to be involved in people smuggling.

“The benefit of the doubt will be given in favor of people thought to be minors and they will be sent home,” he said.

He did not comment on Hadi’s case, saying the embassy could not comment on specific cases of individuals who may have been charged with people smuggling-related offenses.

This is disgusting it still continues. This boy is still in jail after everything you have done is disgraceful. What excuse have our government, our federal police, what excuse does Australia have that it cannot check in instant the date of birth of this boy? Do we not live in an era of flights only a couple of hours from Indonesia, or in a technology age of instant phone calling, faxes, email scans, databases, this is as Gerry would write 'discrimination and racism'. I will not vote for the Labor Party or the Greens or the Liberals every again. My vote goes to increasing the 5% who vote informal. I am ashamed today to be an Australian and if I stop voting for our governments who do this shameful evil then maybe I can be proud of being Australian again. Who would have thought that we would have children in jails. Sue.