Lawyers for Human Rights to launch 2012 Detention Report next week

Next week South Africa will launch the 2012 Detention Report, an annual report compiled by local Campaign member, Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) under the theme “Speak up for children behind bars”.

The campaign calls on the Government of South Africa to stop detaining children – not only in law, but also in practice, as well as to stop deporting minors.

With the imminence of the event, LHR is also intervening in the cases of six minor children currently in detention.

These include five Zimbabwean boys detained at the Musina Police Station in Limpopo and a 16year old Congolese boy who has been detained at Lindela since February 2012.

Although official figures are not available, it has been reported that between October and December 2011, 86 children between the ages of 2-17 years were detained and deported to Zimbabwe, which receives the highest number of children who are deported from South Africa.

LHR is the only organisation which has been regularly visiting the only formal detention center, Lindela – just outside Johannesburg – in order to provide pro bono legal representation to its detainees.

The Detention Report is compiled through monitoring assessments, including consultations with adult and child detainees, as well as state officials. This regular monitoring has enabled LHR to identify trends and legal issues as well as shifts in practice and national policies.

Meanwhile, international Campaign Coordinator, Jeroen van Hove, based in Europe, will visit South Africa in the week starting on the 17th of September.

He has sought permission from the government to visit the Lindela Repatriation Centre and will be assisting in campaign activities which include, among others, a video recording session by a group of 20 children who have been trained in media monitoring at the Troyeville Primary School by Media Monitoring Africa (MMA).

The Campaign will also collaborate with MMA to speak to a group of secondary school children training to be journalists who regularly report to the media on child issues.

The Campaign will facilitate the young journalists’ access to children with detention experience, which would enable a child’s story to be told by another child media reporter.

The Global Campaign to End Child Immigration Detention was launched on 21 May. This resolution was taken at the 19th Session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in March 2012.

The Global Campaign to End Immigration Detention of Children was launched with the support of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. This year the Campaign is focusing on seven countries: Australia, Greece, Mexico, Israel, Malaysia, South Africa and the United States.

Countries have been chosen for inclusion in the campaign based on the extent to which immigration detention of children is an issue, combined with the commitment of local civil society groups. The focus on each country will last for one month, during which Campaign workers, along with members of local organisations will set up different activities in support of the Campaign.

Human rights and refugee rights groups from all over the world first came together in 2006 to start exploring this issue and begin building momentum for the Campaign.

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