Pressure is mounting within New Zealand for the government to condemn Australia as a “rogue nation” violating human rights following the deportation of a 15-year-old boy.
The minor was sent to New Zealand under the controversial 501 policy whereby the Australian government has been deporting non-citizens who are determined to have a “substantial criminal history” under a character test under the Australian Migration Act.
Australian Home Secretary Peter Dutton last week described moving deportees through the Tasman as “taking out the trash” to “make Australia a safer place”, prompting a political backlash in New Zealand.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has reiterated her strong opposition to the policy and made it clear that Australia was operating “within its rights”. He has also resisted suggestions that he has damaged the trans-Tasman alliance, saying that the relationship between the two countries is “excellent.”
But the deportation of the 15-year-old, which the media reported to Ardern on Monday, has ignited tensions and increased pressure on Ardern to take a stronger stance against Australia.
In Radio New Zealand’s Morning Report program on TuesdayGreens foreign affairs spokesman Golriz Ghahraman said Australia was behaving like an “outlier” and needed to be treated as such.
“They need to know that they are now damaging their relationship with us, that being a traditional ally and a business partner does not mean that we will continue to be an ally and partner to them, as they treat us with utter disdain in this way.”
The deportation was against the “rule of law and a commitment to human rights” and should be brought to the United Nations, Ghahraman said.
“It is time for all of us that we call like-minded nations to recognize that Australia is really behaving like a rogue nation, as we call countries that constantly violate human rights laws, and raise this in our international forums, that our allies join us in condemning this and putting pressure on Australia to start behaving like a good citizen of the world ”.
The foreign affairs spokesman for the opposition National Party, Gerry Brownlee, said that, without knowing the boy’s circumstances, at first glance the deportation was “quite gruesome.” Party leader Judith Collins said she was “pretty bad.”
Collins suggested last week that the New Zealand government should reciprocate with a deportation policy of its own.
Children’s Commissioner Andrew Becroft said on Twitter he had “serious questions” about the deportation, although he was proud of New Zealand “for putting the child first.”
He said New Zealand and Australia had signed the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child “and are required to put the best interests of the child first when making decisions about them. What led Aus to decide that his best interests were best served by deporting him here? Was it a principled decision or just a convenient one?
“Are ‘501 character tests’ being applied to children and, if so, why? These are questions that every New Zealander would like to know the answer to. I certainly do. “
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nanaia Mahuta, confirmed Tuesday morning that New Zealand had been notified in advance of the child’s arrival on March 10, and knew that it had to involve the children’s ministry Oranga Tamariki.
Things has reported that the adolescent is now in a managed isolation facility. A spokesperson for Oranga Tamariki said in a statement delivered to Stuff that it had been “working extensively with the relevant authorities in both Australia and New Zealand to support the arrival of this young man to New Zealand.”
Advocacy group Iwi N Aus has said the deportation has broadened the spectrum of “ongoing discriminatory legislation that the Australian government is implementing for New Zealand citizens.”
Coordinator Filipa Payne, also a co-founder of the Route 501 support network for New Zealand-born detainees in Australia, addressed Dutton directly in a statement pposted on YouTube on Tuesday: “Hands off our children.
“Our children are our future and our children will not be brutalized through their system.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism