The Australian Government must evacuate every man, woman and child currently warehoused on Manus and Nauru and bring them to safety in Australia, the United Nations said overnight.
The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights Committee announced its alarm at the Australian Government’s punitive treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum in its five yearly report on Australia’s compliance with the foundational treaty.
Amy Frew, Lawyer with the Human Rights Law Centre, said, “Australia's abuse of refugees is an ongoing stain on our record. This ugly chapter in our history does not close until every single man, woman and child suffering at our government’s hand on Nauru and Manus is safe. No one can be left behind.”
The Committee urged our government to reunite families indefinitely torn apart by offshore processing.
“One of the cruelest parts of our Government's refugee policy is the indefinite separation of husbands from wives, mothers from children. Families are permanently separated simply because they arrived and sought Australia’s protection on different dates. It’s our Government who must reunite them and allow them to rebuild their lives, and they must do so immediately.”
Human rights abuses by companies involved in the detention of asylum seekers on Manus Island and Nauru were also under the spotlight.
“Yet again, the UN has found that companies operating Australia’s overseas detention centres are responsible for serious human rights violations. These findings should serve as a clear warning to companies and investors alike to steer clear of Australia’s disgraceful offshore detention regime,” added Ms Frew.
The findings can be found here.
For further comments or queries please contact:
Michelle Bennett, Director of Communications, Human Rights Law Centre, 0419 100 519