Wednesday, 21 December 2016 16:49

Victorian court upholds children’s human rights

The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission welcomed today’s Supreme Court finding that the transfer of children from Parkville and Malmsbury Youth Justice and Remand Centres to Barwon Prison was unlawful.

The court found that the Victorian Government failed to give proper consideration to children’s human rights when making the decision to establish the Grevillea unit at Barwon Prison after damage to the Parkville Youth Justice Centre.

In making his decision, Justice Garde found that the government acted unlawfully under Victoria’s Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities (the Charter).

His Honour found the government failed to give proper consideration to the children’s rights to be free from cruelty, inhuman and degrading treatment and to be treated with dignity when deprived of liberty particularly in light of the harsh conditions at Barwon prison.

Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner, Kristen Hilton, said the Commission intervened in the case to assist the court in relation to human rights issues that were raised.

"There is no easy solution here but in contexts such as this, this is when the Charter has the most work to do – in shaping, checking, guiding policy – providing a framework for the complex assessment of rights and the protection of individuals," Ms Hilton said.

"This is especially important when we are talking about children."

The Commission sought to ensure the court knew what tests to apply when determining whether proper consideration of human rights was given when deciding to establish the Grevillea Unit as a Youth Justice and Remand Centre, and in deciding to transfer children there.

The Victorian Government has appealed the matter.

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