The lack of documents confirming the ages of Indonesian minors detained in Australia over human trafficking charges is preventing their release, said a report in the Jakarta Globe - even a baptism certificate could help, a rights activist said.
“They do not have birth certificates,” said Magdalena Sitorus, head of the Friends of Indonesian Women and Children (SAPA Indonesia).
“If there is goodwill from the government, a loophole can certainly be found. It could also be in the form of baptism certificates for those who are Catholic.”
The Australian government continues to detain them but none have yet faced trial, she said. They were arrested with some 500 adult Indonesians who are suspected of smuggling people to the country.
Rafendi Djamin, executive director of Jakarta-based Human Rights Working Group, said the legal proceedings against some 70 minors were progressing slowly because their lack of documents meant Australian authorities were having problems determining their ages.
“They should have been deported because they are all under 18 years old,” Rafendi said.
Rafendi said the youths were in fact the victims of human trafficking syndicates that had escaped justice. “They were only boat hands tasked with cooking and cleaning,” he said.
Concern for Minors Still Locked Up In Australia
(The Jakarta Globe)
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