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Josephites hit out at detention of children

A detention centre is no place to nurture a child, according to a statement released yesterday by the Sisters of St Joseph, who point out that they have cared for children in need in Australia and beyond, for 136 years.

"We understand what is needed for children's emotional development and we certainly know that a detention centre behind razor wire is no place to nurture a child," said Sr Joan Healey of the National Josephite Justice Network.

"We know that there are complex political questions involved but to leave children in detention while political solutions are sought is not an option."

The statement comes a few days after it was revealed that a prominent Brigidine sister assisted two refugee children who had escaped from Woomera detention centre.

Sr Healy said the Josephites had learned over the years that suffering inflicted early in a child's life "has repercussions for the whole of life".

"We deplore that children are being held in detention centres and that their rights to a normal childhood and family life are being withheld," she said. "This is a moral question upon which our generation will rightly be judged by future generations."

The statement called for the immediate release of children into the community.

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Sisters of St Joseph
Josephite Ministry of Justice

Sisters of St Joseph

23 Jul 2002