We must look after children | Editorial

IMMIGRATION Minister Scott Morrison must address claims that mental problems among children in detention are being covered up and physical health problems have been exacerbated.

The Human Rights Commission Inquiry into Children in Detention has heard the immigration department has sought to have the extent of mental health problems among children on Christmas Island and Nauru removed from official reports.

Other medical experts have told the inquiry medication has been taken from some detainees causing them medical complications, including a girl, 3, who had seizures after her epilepsy medication was taken away.

The commission yesterday heard from four doctors who had worked in or visited detention centres.

Sydney University Paediatrics Professor Elizabeth Elliott said the lack of access to full medical care made Christmas Island an inappropriate place to hold children with special needs.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott says the only way to avoid having children in detention is to stop asylum seeker boats reaching Australia, but that doesn’t mean the government can abdicate its responsibility for children who are already in these detention centres.