#Human Rights
Alex Stone

Naomi's story.

Is a child born in Australia in a Detention Centre an Australian Citizen? If not, what is she? Does she have any rights?

Naomi Leong spent her third birthday on 5 May 2005 in detention. She spent her second and her first there as well. She was born there. This poor innocent has been held in this cruel situation all her small life.

While technically having been born and now growing up in Australia, she has been denied freedom and any semblance of a normal life, by the Australian Department of Immigration. No toyshops, no icecream, no playgroup.

Naomi's mother Virginia Leong, was 2 months pregnant when she was detained for trying to leave Australia without proper documentation.

Virginia entered Australia on a valid visa, but had overstayed a mere two months. She was whisked into the Villawood Detention Centre and there she has stayed since. Her home country has not stepped in to question her detaining, her host country has not bothered to resolve it. Three years have passed. How many more to follow?

Dr Michael Dudley, a child psychiatrist at the Sydney Children's Hospital said of Naomi in an interview on PM on ABC Radio National; "She's in a very anxious and distressed state. She's banging her head against the wall, she's gazing into the distance at times, she's mute, unresponsive, listless." (5 May, 2005)

In November 2004, Detainee advocates tried to insist that Naomi be allowed out to mix with other kids at a nearby child care playgroup for two hours each week. The child care group has said it would welcome her. The request was rejected.

"We really needed her to be in an environment where she actually had some chance to grow and develop normally," Dr Dudley said.

Virginia has another child, a six-year-old-boy, who is an Australian citizen. His father was previously married to Virginia, but he refuses to allow the boy to visit his biological mother and sister "in jail."
Has Virginia anybody who can help her? If not is she there to stay permanently?

Naomi is not alone in this plight. She is but one of 69 children being held in Immigration Detention Centres across Australia, the innocent victims in their parents' attempt to get a better life for their children than they had for themselves.

The system of mandatory, non-reviewable detention for everyone (no exception for babies and children) is a system introduced in Australia in 1992. Detaining children like this is contrary to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which Australia agreed to abide by in 1990.

It is the intention of this petition to free little Naomi, and to help prevent this treatment of all these other innocent children who through no fault of their own are destined to a more existence. To be held in Detention Centres for something they are not responsible for, is cruelty without comprehension.

This should not be happening in Australia. Join us in protesting to the government to give these poor children something to live for.

For more information on child immigration detainees in Australia please visit

ABC's story - 'Just another birthday behind Razor Wire' tells the sad story of little Naomi . Find it at http://abc.net.au/pm/content/2005/S1360970.htm then come straight back and sign the petition.

We want 20 million signatures - equivalent to the population of Australia - insisting that Government recognise that Australia is a country of caring people -and a country where we don't ruin the lives of children!

We, the undersigned, ask of the Australian Federal Government, through Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone, that Naomi Leong - and all children in mandatory immigration detention in Australia and Nauru - be released together with their parents.
These innocent children must be allowed to live a normal life while their cases are being investigated.

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The Plea to Free Innocent 3 year old Naomi petition to Alex Stone was written by Audrie Scott and is in the category Human Rights at GoPetition.