Australia breaching at least 7 laws with off shore asylum camps
Australia's asylum seeker laws are breaching at least 7 international laws, according to a researcher.
A new human rights report by a Melbourne University says the Australia's current asylum seeker policies and practices are in breach of at least seven international laws.
A chapter in the report by Monash University's Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, written by Dr Azadeh Dastyari, says the violations are very serious, and the government must be aware of them.
But she told Jamie Tahana that the weakness of International law means there's not much that can be done about it.
AZADEH DASTYARI: They range from our obligations under the refugee convention to ensure that no refugee who fears persecution will be returned to persecution, to fears about arbitrary detention also rights of children are being violated by Australia when we send children to Nauru for further detention. So a whole range of rights from political and social rights to refugee rights to children's rights are being violated by Australia at the moment.
JAMIE TAHANA: And how serious are these violations?
AD: They are incredibly serious, we have to recognise that Australia is taking extreme measures not only to deter from coming to Australia but to deny them access. The things we are doing like turning boats back around at sea and using things like lifeboats to send people back to Indonesia are things that are unprecedented in an international community and this is a country that doesn't have as much of an issue with irregular boat arrivals as many countries in the world. So these measures are very extreme and the violations are very extreme. The kind of detention that we are seeing in Nauru and in Manus island in PNG are absolutely horrific and not is there a legal obligation to insure that people are protected from cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment or punishment something we believe that Australia maybe in violation of where putting people on Manus island indefinitely. So we are not even processing people, we are just subjecting them to horrendous conditions in the Pacific islands in very, very cruel conditions.
JT: And presumably the government is completely aware of the laws that have been breached?
AD: Yeah, the government should be aware of the laws that have been breached. This is not the first time Australia's immigration detention policy have been criticised, Australia have been in violation of the ICCPR which says that you shouldn't arbitrarily detain people. It has been repeatedly told by the international community that it shouldn't be detaining people arbitrarily. Not only have we not listened to in the international community and observed the rights that we are obliged to serve we have actually exported our policy to our neighbours.
JT: What options are available for breaches of international law? We see breaches before and nothing happens.
AD: Yeah, unfortunately the international law, when it comes to human rights has very little few respective enforcement mechanisms, so whilst it can be clearly pointed out to the Australian government that they are in clear violation of many, many of their obligations and that they are denying rights to asylum seekers, there's very little they can be done. There can be shaming, which UNHCR has come out and attempted to highlight Australia's violation of the refugee convention, and the fact they may be refugees at risk of being returned to harm and also pointing out that under the refugee convention they have additional obligations, not only not to return people to harm but provide them with certain basic things that we are not providing, so there has been attempt to draw attention to what's happening and to shame Australia into action but that can only take you so far.
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