Open Letter to Queensland State Government and the State Opposition
I am writing on behalf of Youth Affairs Network of Queensland (YANQ), the peak body for youth sector in Queensland. With over 670 individual and organisational members, we are the main voice for marginalised young people across the State.
As you are aware, the evolving crisis with the spread of the Coronavirus is putting many lives in danger. Of particular concern to us are the children and young people who are currently locked up in Queensland’s Youth Detention Centres. We believe that these young people are at great risk and we urge you to consider releasing them as a matter of priority.
Majority of the young people in detention are on remand. YANQ can mobilise its membership and the broader youth sector across Queensland to ensure suitable accommodation is sourced and that these young people can receive the necessary support to reengage with the community.
Around the world authorities are taking the risk of Coronavirus to poisoners very seriously. For example, in the past few days Iran has released over 85,000 prisoners, half of them serving sentences for security reasons. If Iran can release security risk prisoners surely the Queensland Government is able to release children who are not even convicted of any crime and are held on remand.
We also urge the Queensland opposition to support this move and refrain from playing politics and painting this as evidence of the Government being ‘soft on crime’ or ‘putting the safety of our community at risk’. We are facing an unprecedented challenge with a serious risk to many lives. We need strong and compassionate leadership that places children’s lives above politics. We need a clear bipartisan approach to ensure we are not putting the lives of any children at risk.
We hope that you will consider this issue as a matter of priority. We are more than happy to provide any assistance in progressing this humanitarian strategy in the broader context of dealing with the Coronavirus outbreak.
If you need any further information and or clarification, please do not hesitate to contact me on 0407 655 785.
Youth Affairs Network of Queensland