Some 55 Indonesians have decided to seek compensation from the Australian government over the way they were treated in Australian jails.
They filed a complaint to the Australian Human Rights Commission stating that although they helped people smugglers get asylum seekers to Australia, the Australian government should have known they were, in fact, minors and should have never been put in jail as adults.
Canberra lawyer Mr. Sam Tierney, who is representing the group, says: “We’re talking about kids locked up with the worst of the worst in Australia.”
“You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to know that they’ve had a hard time.
“I think it would be fair to say that, in a lot of instances, they’re still confused about why they ended up where they did, and why they were treated the way they were.”
Furthermore, and still, according to their lawsuit, the Australian government should have taken more care in verifying their age before deciding they were adults. Any attempts to verify their age were either insufficient or relied on flawed wrist x-ray testing.
This is not the first time the Australian government faces compensation claims for their handling of minors in people-smuggling operations.
Back in 2012, the Australian Human Rights center had already warned the government they would be bombarded with complaints about their tough handling of Asian refugees arriving in boats.
Australia is the first choice for many Asian asylum seekers and the government has often times been accused of cruelty towards the many refugees that arrive in boats on their shores.
Many human rights groups claim that refugee policy is to Australians what gun policy is to Americans. Given their history (Australia was first used as a prison camp for British criminals), harshness towards refugees is embedded in the Australian culture.