The LNP in Queensland proposing a curfew on children in Far North Queensland is extremely concerning and potentially breaches international law. Amnesty International Australia campaigner Joel Mackay said:
“The evidence is clear: tough on crime is not solving the issue of youth offending. The LNP seems not to be listening to the experts or reviewing the evidence.
“A preemptive curfew on children will only entrench cycles of disadvantage, poverty, poor health and racism. Youth prisons will once again overflow. It will affect the most marginalised children in our communities who need support and only get more children trapped in the quicksand of our justice system
“The reality is that curfews do not work – the UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency note that curfews ‘stigmatise, victimise and criminalise young people’.
“The Committee on the Rights of the Child and the UN World Report on Violence Against Children have all called for the abolition of status offences – such as curfews – to achieve equal treatment for children and adults.
“Australia is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, so this policy may breach our commitment to international law if enacted
“Reintroducing breach of bail as an offence is also extremely concerning, because we know that the children who are locked up are very likely to be locked up again, keeping them out of prison and addressing the underlying causes, breaks the cycle,” Mackay said.
“Our society should be protecting and promoting the safety of children, and all the evidence shows that these programs are effective for children in helping them become contributing members of our society and reduce the economic burden on the taxpayer.”
Amnesty International Australia has released a Human Rights Agenda for the Queensland election which outlines an evidence-based approach to youth justice which includes the recommendation to raise the age of criminal responsibility from 10 to 14 in line with international standards.