Mobile  |  About us  |  Photos  |  Videos  |  Subscriptions  |  RSS Feeds  |  Today's Paper  |  Classifieds  |  Contact Us
The Daily Star
MONDAY, 21 APR 2014
03:15 PM Beirut time
Weather    
Beirut
21 °C
Blom Index
BLOM
1,214.01down
International
Follow this story Print RSS Feed ePaper share this
Amnesty probe finds Australia breaches asylum laws
Reuters
Residents help a group of asylum-seeker survivors on the beach after being rescued by locals in the coastal village of Cianjur in Indonesia's western Java island Sept. 27, 2013. (AFP/Stringer)
Residents help a group of asylum-seeker survivors on the beach after being rescued by locals in the coastal village of Cianjur in Indonesia's western Java island Sept. 27, 2013. (AFP/Stringer)
A+ A-

SYDNEY: Rights group Amnesty International has urged Australia to review its asylum seeker policies and end offshore detention after finding "debilitating and humiliating conditions" at processing centres that breach obligations under international law.

A steady flow of refugee boats is a hot political issue in Australia, polarising voters. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative Liberal-led coalition won power in September partly on the back of a tough campaign against asylum seekers.

In its report, Amnesty said 1,100 male asylum seekers now detained on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea were living in squalid 'prison-like' conditions, where one compound was reported to violate the U.N. Convention Against Torture.

Compounds on the island are known to be overcrowded with small fans shared among more than 100 men in an environment of stifling heat and overwhelming stench, Amnesty said.

"This system of harsh conditions and humiliating treatment is a deliberate effort to pressure people to return to the desperate situations they have fled from," Claire Mallinson, director of Amnesty in Australia, said in a statement.

"The policy of offshore processing is here to stay," Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who heads the combined asylum seeker task force known as Operation Sovereign Borders, told Reuters in an email response on Wednesday.

"To walk away from offshore processing would be reckless and irresponsible."

He added, "Where practical, suggestions raised to improve the operations of our offshore processing centres will be given proper consideration."

The U.N. refugee agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, last year identified a global total of 10.5 million refugees, compared to just over 30,000 settled in Australia, putting the country's share at 0.29 percent, and ranking it at 49 among the countries that host refugees.

Pakistan hosted the largest number, with 1.6 million, and Iran, with 868,000 people.

Amnesty said asylum seekers at Manus were forced to line up for several hours a day for meals and had no access to adequate medical facilities for mental illness and health conditions.

The majority of those held on Manus have fled from war-torn areas, including Afghanistan, Darfur, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, as well as Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bidun from the Gulf region, who have fled from ethnic persecution.

The report follows an inspection by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees that found conditions on Manus and at another centre on the Republic of Nauru in the South Pacific fell short of international standards.

They "do not provide a fair and efficient system for assessing refugee claims provide safe and humane conditions of treatment in detention," that report concluded.

 
Home International
 
     
 
Australia
Advertisement
Comments  

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement


Baabda 2014
Advertisement
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Follow us on Linked In Follow us on Google+ Subscribe to our Live Feed
Multimedia
Images  
Pictures of the day
A selection of images from around the world- Monday April 21, 2014
View all view all
Advertisement
Rami G. Khouri
Rami G. Khouri
Why Israeli-Palestinian talks fail
Michael Young
Michael Young
Why confuse gibberish with knowledge?
David Ignatius
David Ignatius
Echoes of 1914 characterize the Ukraine crisis
View all view all
Advertisement
cartoon
 
Click to View Articles
 
 
News
Business
Opinion
Sports
Culture
Technology
Entertainment
Privacy Policy | Anti-Spamming Policy | Disclaimer | Copyright Notice
© 2014 The Daily Star - All Rights Reserved - Designed and Developed By IDS