A campaign to get children out of immigration detention launched a new song and music video last week with the full backing of the Catholic Education Office Sydney and several experienced refugee advocates.
Jumping Up &Down 4 Kids showcased Jump, performed by X-Factor finalist Jacinta Gulisano, last Thursday, including its video boasting impressive photography of hundreds of migrants and born-and-bred Australians, including scores of students from Catholic schools in Sydney.
Campaign founder Virginia Francis of the Catholic Education Office Sydney (CEO), who spoke to The Catholic Weekly about the initiative earlier this year, was joined at the launch by former detention centre worker Mark Isaacs and Refugee Council of Australia president Phil Glendenning.
Mr Isaacs, author of The Undesirables which he wrote about his experiences working at the Nauru detention centre, described Australia’s current policy of detaining children as “traumatic”.
“It simply isn’t possible for children to live in a place like that and not be damaged by the experience,” Mr Isaacs said.
“If we cannot guarantee the safety of children, we must never put them in such a place. Kids just don’t belong in immigration detention.”
He said people had to face-up to the immorality of using “cruelty” to dissuade people from getting on boats.
“It’s not the only way, to subject people to cruelty … We must find this other way because right now, what we are doing to children in detention centres is traumatic … We are responsible for it; we as a people, we as a government, we as a country”.
Mr Glendenning said that it was only when ordinary people took action that the policies enacted in their name began to change.
“To the CEO who have done this today, this is fantastic. The nation needs to jump up and down about this issue,” Mr Glendenning said.
“Human beings are an end in themselves with innate dignity. Those of us in the Catholic system, we believe very strongly that people are made in the image and likeness of God.
“Young people are innocent. Their parents actually are innocent … what laws have they broken?”
Mr Glendenning congratulated the “star” of the video, Catholic primary school student Harrison, who attended the launch with his parents.
“Congratulations mate, you are a star … congratulations mum and dad.
“If you need a manager for The X-Factor, mate, my name is Phil.”
More information about Jumping Up &Down 4 Kids available here.