UNICEF is concerned by reports of a decision by the Governments of Australia and Cambodia to start transferring refugees currently in an Australian-funded processing centre in Nauru to Cambodia for settlement. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Australia and Cambodia are both parties, the rights of children are paramount and must be guaranteed in every situation. Article 3 of the CRC obliges States to ensure that in all actions concerning children, the best interests of the child are a primary consideration.
UNICEF recalls that all governments have a responsibility to protect the rights of all children in every circumstance. The special needs and rights of children and the additional risks they face must be assessed and properly addressed in any action governments take, as an essential part of the planning and the implementation of that action.
Governments that take actions that can reasonably be expected to increase the risks children face must accept a special responsibility for the safeguarding of their rights. No government policy or action should knowingly put children’s lives or their wellbeing at increased risk.