//
you're reading...
Australian Current Affairs

Australia in breach of international human rights laws over Manus Island asylum seekers


The desolate Manus Island detainee facility

The desolate Manus Island detainee facility

The international refugee agency says it is ”deeply concerned” for the asylum seekers Australia sends to Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island detention centre.

In its second report on the conditions on the island centre, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says PNG is in breach of international human rights laws by detaining the asylum seekers ”on a mandatory and indefinite basis”.

”The remoteness of the location, the nature of the facility (on a naval base) and the difficult living conditions appear to contribute to the all-pervasive sense of frustration and despondency which, if left unresolved for a protracted period, is likely to lead to increased levels of psycho-social and physical harm of those affected,” the UNHCR report states.

After the UNHCR visited the centre in June, Australia has transferred all children and families from the centre back to Christmas Island.

Advertisement

While the agency welcomed the news, it said the transfers showed how inappropriate it had been for Australia to send children to the centre in the first place.

Under international law, children are to be held in detention only as a last resort, and for the shortest time possible.

”UNHCR remains of the view that the legal framework and detention environment at the Manus Island facility fall short of international standards of protection [and] it is difficult to see how a determination of the best interests of transferee children, appropriately weighted, could lead to a conclusion that adequate and appropriate levels of care and support are currently available on the island.

”The recent transfer of children and their families to Australia, which UNCHR welcomes, appears to support this finding.”

On Friday, the Department of Immigration and Citizenship said another 18 asylum seekers – Iraqis, Sri Lankans and Kuwaitis – had been sent to Manus Island, the 18th transfer conducted by Australia.

”The completion of this transfer reaffirms the strong message of deterrence for anyone considering risking their lives on dangerous people smuggling boats,” the department said.

But the UNHCR said given more than 20,000 asylum seekers had arrived since the government introduced its ”no-advantage” policy in August 13 – which included reopening the Nauru and Manus Island detention centres – the detention of some 300 on Manus Island appeared arbitrary.

”Many [asylum seekers] expressed a deep sense of injustice about why such a small number of them had been selected for transfer to Manus Island out of the 20,000 or so who had arrived by boat to Australia,” it said.

”This sense of injustice was compounded by the harsh conditions, their likely protracted stay and uncertainty about their eventual fate.”

The UNHCR said it welcomed improvements made at the centre since its first visit in January, and praised staff and officials at the centre, saying they conducted themselves with ”obvious sensitivity, dedication and good will”.

However, it said, Australia’s pre-transfer assessments of asylum seekers bound for Manus Island were  ”problematic”, and did not appear to take into account the individual needs of children or other vulnerable people.

Immigration Minister Tony Burke said the UNHCR reports continued ”to provide an important input to benchmarking the progress of the work at Manus Island”.

”Given the permanent structures are not yet in place I intend to review the findings of the UNHCR and they will be part of ongoing considerations into future decisions,” Mr Burke said in a statement.

”Manus Island is a critical part of a greater comprehensive regional approach.”

Source: Sydney Morning Herald – Concern lingers over Manus centre: UNHCR
 

About Craig Hill

Teacher and Writer. Writing has been cited in New York Times, BBC, Fox News, Aljazeera, Philippines Star, South China Morning Post, National Interest, news.com.au, Wikipedia and others.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

If you liked what you just read, click "Subscribe" to become a follower of the Craig Hill site. You will receive an email each time a new post is published.

Join 14,817 other followers

An archive of all my old posts

Follow me on Twitter

Most Recent Posts Post on My Blog About China: China News

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

US-China rivalry rooted in lost trust

As early as 2005 John Gersham and Melvin Goodman alerted against the trend of an over-militarized US foreign policy. The warning has been a recurrent theme of American debate, although it gained little traction. The debate recently spilled into mainstream media with The Economist averring that “an over-militarized foreign policy that embraces unrealistic objectives is liable to fail.” […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 20, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Children account for 15 per cent of Australian farm deaths, says AgHealth study – 15 per cent of farm deaths are children under 14 years old, according to an AgHealth Australia study; A Ballarat farmer says she is shocked almost one in six … Australia’s first body image program for…

China in the News: July 20, 2021

China in the News: July 20, 2021

Ford unveils lower-priced Mustang Mach-E in China to qualify for subsidies – Previously, this was the only Mach-E priced low enough to qualify for China’s EV subsidies. It was joined by Extended Range RWD and AWD versions as well as the … NZ in ‘position of vulnerability’ over China hacking accusations – New Zealand has […]

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

Cadence Column: Asia, July 19, 2021

China faces a three-pronged attack in the realm of public opinion. The Olympics converge with COVID; the third is three levelings up in Chinese military aggression. COVID is seen in the public eye as having mainly originated from China. Even with conspiracy theories surrounding Fauci and Gates, no explanation lets China off the hook. That […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 19, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
Race on for Australian rare earth supplies as fears grow over China’s market ‘monopoly’ – It comes two years after David Gainer, the US Consul General to Perth, visited a rare earths mine near Laverton in outback Western Australia just days into the … Swim league to be launched in…

China in the News: July 19, 2021

China in the News: July 19, 2021

First human death due to monkey B virus reported in China – Patients of rare viral infections transmitted from the monkey have been reported in China and the U.S. in succession. According to China’s state-run Global … Commentary: A pity China can’t seem to ditch its wolf warrior diplomacy – Despite recent exhortations from President […]

The Nuclear Future of East Asia

The Nuclear Future of East Asia

In the face of North Korea and China’s continuous expansion and advancement in their nuclear arsenal in the past decade, the nuclear question for East Asian countries is now more urgent than ever—especially when U.S.’s credibility of extended deterrence has been shrinking since the post-cold war era. Whether to acquire independent nuclear deterrent has long […]

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 18, 2021

Overnight News Headlines (Australia): July 18, 2021

Originally posted on Craig Hill:
New study reveals history of Aboriginal trade with foreign visitors before British settlement – They are markers of an annual Asian occupation of the northernmost tip of Western Australia that remains a mystery. “This is an unknown part of Australian … Lolesio kicks 14-man Australia to win to seal series…

China in the News: July 18, 2021

China in the News: July 18, 2021

China threat: Australia detects two Chinese spy ships ahead of a major US missile launch on Sunday – AUSTRALIA has detected “unusual” spy activity from Beijing after a second high-tech Chinese military ship was spotted approaching the Queensland coast ahead … Chinese in S. Korean entertainment industry face backlash – Some Chinese K-pop stars deemed […]

China targets overthrow of global order as expert warns of ‘brutal authoritarianism’ rise

China targets overthrow of global order as expert warns of ‘brutal authoritarianism’ rise

CHINA has set out to overthrow the global liberal system in favour of a more compatible “authoritarian” order, a former CIA officer has stated. The Chinese leadership has set out to replace the international rules bases order, a former US intelligence analyst has warned.  Nicholas Eftimiades, an expert on China, has warned that Xi Jinping‘s regime believes […]

%d bloggers like this: