The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, used her address to the 40th session of the UN Human Rights Council to highlight some of the world’s worst human rights abuses and called out the Australian Government’s treatment of refugees and people seeking asylum.
Ms Bachelet raised ongoing concerns about the Australian Government’s plans to transfer refugees and people seeking asylum to new detention centres, saying “Those people have been suffering for more than six years; more humane policies could, and should, be implemented.”
Katie Robertson, Director of Legal Advocacy at the Human Rights Law Centre, said that Bachelet’s comments reflected the continued international shock at the Government’s sustained cruelty to refugees.
“For the past six years the UN has raised serious concerns about the Australian Government’s blatant abuse of refugees and people seeking asylum in Australia’s care, in particular those held in cruel, inhumane and degrading conditions on Nauru and Manus Island. These concerns continue to fall on deaf ears.
Men and women continue to languish in indefinite detention on Nauru and Manus Island, in urgent need of critical medical care and evacuation to Australia.
After so much suffering; after so many years of toxic politics, comments like these from the UN remind us that we must embrace compassion, decency and humanity in the way we treat refugees and people seeking asylum in our care."