8 Aug 2002

Australia accused of breaching its human rights obligations

6:20 pm on 8 August 2002

The Refugee Council of Australia says the Howard government is breaching international human rights conventions by continuing to detain refugees in camps on Nauru while it seeks other countries to take them in.

The Council's Executive Director, Margaret Piper says refugees still detained on Nauru are denied the freedom to move and live in a community which is granted under the United Nations Convention of Refugees and which Australia ratified.

This comes as the UN High Comissioner for Refugees said that it was concerned over the indefinite detention of over 100 refugees still on Nauru.

Recently the Australian government had accepted 56 refugees on the island, all with immediate family in the country.

Ms Piper says however, the Howard government is obligated to take in all the refugees and that it is shirking its international duty by asking other countries to do so.

"It's clearly contrary to Australia's international human rights obligations however the Australian Government has made it clear that other resettlement countries should provide support for them the other resettlement countries are seeing that they are predominately Australia's responsibility and it is not a priority to them to offer resettlement places to these people"

Margaret Piper form the Refugee Council of Australia.