Human rights groups call out corporation’s association with abuse

Human rights groups call out corporation’s association with abuse

The offshore processing centres on Nauru and Manus Island continue to be the sites of ongoing human rights violations, including illegal detention, sexual assault and child abuse. Today, a new report by Amnesty exposes how Spanish multinational Ferrovial and its Australian subsidiary Broadspectrum are making vast profits operating Australia’s abusive offshore detention centres.

The Human Rights Law Centre’s Director of Legal Advocacy, Keren Adams, said operating the centres is inconsistent with the corporate responsibility to respect human rights in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

“The indefinite warehousing of people seeking asylum and refugees in inhumane conditions is not acceptable business for any company. Ferrovial’s operation of the camps in Nauru and Manus Island places the company in clear contravention of its internationally recognised responsibility to respect human rights,” said Ms Adams.

Ferrovial currently operates Australia’s privatised offshore detention centres following its takeover of Australian-listed Broadspectrum. While the company has committed not to tender for work beyond the current contract’s expiration in October 2017, the Australian government is expected to issue a call for new service providers soon.

“This report is a warning to any company thinking about profiting from cruelty. Any association with abuse on this scale brings with it significant reputational damage. No company or organisation should profit from the abuse of traumatised men, women and children in Australia’s camps. It’s time for corporations to take immediate action and end their human rights abuses,” said Ms Adams.

Ferrovial and Broadspectrum are well aware of the ongoing abuse in Australia’s offshore detention centres. Last year, the Human Rights Law Centre and GetUp released a joint report, ‘Association with Abuse’, which called on Ferrovial’s financial backers to take immediate action and end its association with the centres.

“Ferrovial has had ample warning. Every day they remain in the camps is a day more of complicity in gross human rights abuses. The only viable way forward is for the camps to shut and for the Australian Government to bring those people to safety now,” added Ms Adams.

For further comments or queries please contact:

Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519