Amnesty International says recent comments by Australia's immigration minister, Peter Dutton, are irresponsible and show a complete lack of understanding of refugee conventions.
In an interview with a Sydney radio station last week, Peter Dutton labelled those detained on Manus Island and Nauru wealthy "economic refugees", saying Nauru had the biggest collection of Armani jeans.
But Amnesty International's Graham Thom said the refugees had escaped horrors from around the world, and have been subjected to four years of further suffering by Australia in its detention centres.
He said Mr Dutton's claims were absolute nonsense.
"These are people who have been acutely traumatised by that experience. So to characterise them in any other way other than refugees deserving of protection is just an appalling thing for the government to do."