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Aust panned in global human rights report

The cover of the report shows men carrying babies making their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings after an airstrike in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo in September 2016. © 2016 Ameer Alhalbi/Agence France Presse/Getty Images

The cover of the report shows men carrying babies making their way through the rubble of destroyed buildings after an airstrike in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo in September 2016. © 2016 Ameer Alhalbi/Agence France Presse/Getty Images

Peter Mitchell

LOS ANGELES [AAP]

Australia’s reputation has been damaged by serious human rights issues including its ‘draconian’ asylum seeker policy, overly broad counterterrorism laws, failure to protect children in detention and limits to the rights of people with disabilities, according to a new global report released by Human Rights Watch.

The report also notes Indigenous adults are 13 times more likely to be imprisoned in Australia than non-indigenous counterparts and the nation still does not recognise the right of same-sex couples to marry.

Human Rights Watch reviewed more than 90 countries in its 687-page report and Australia’s asylum seeker policy drew most criticism for the nation.

‘Refugees and asylum seekers languish in limbo after years of detention, and new laws will subject children to easy-to-abuse control orders,’ Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch, said.

‘If Australia wants to be a global human rights leader, then it should take immediate steps to end these unlawful policies.’

Human Rights Watch recommends Australia take responsibility for the refugees it placed in Papua New Guinea and Nauru and end the system of offshore asylum processing and detention.

The organisation also criticised Australia for a double-standard on human rights.

‘Australia raises human rights concerns in other countries, but does so very selectively,’ the report states.

‘It seldom raises human rights concerns publicly about countries it works closely with in interdicting asylum seekers and refugees or with which it has significant trade relations.’

Human Rights Watch also pointed to the footage released of ‘horrific treatment of children held in Northern Territory and Queensland youth detention centres’.

The CCTV video showed tear-gassing, hooding, shackling and stripping of children at a youth detention facility in the Northern Territory.

‘Despite the report, Territory officials failed to act,’ the report states.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s introduction last year of counter-terrorism laws was described by Human Rights Watch as incrementally chipping away at fundamental rights.

‘Indefinite and arbitrary detention of prisoners who have already served their time undermines the rule of law, a crucial component of countering terrorism,’ Ms Pearson said.

‘While Australia has a responsibility to protect its citizens from harm, this shouldn’t come at the cost of undermining basic rights.’

Download the report at https://www.hrw.org


One response to “Aust panned in global human rights report”

  1. Ken says:

    “If Australia wants to be a global human rights leader, then it should take immediate steps to end these unlawful policies.’” ???????
    When was this on the agenda ? and if it is who put it there ?
    Australia is a slowly recovering penal colony and the inmates here have never enjoyed ‘Human rights’,freedom of speech or any of the trappings that are being demanded by our unwelcome and uninvited guests, who have taken it upon themselves to invade our shores in order to improve their financial well-being, after trashing their own societies and cultures.
    These people are not citizens and not our concern and as is pointed out, the ‘aboriginal’ population is 13 times more likely to commit crimes serious enough to require imprisonment,and while the law has been slow to destroy the thousands of years cultural and biological concept of marriage, how is this cause for ‘ Human Rights Watch’ to criticise this nation ?
    Why don’t they get real and start asking how Australia was tricked into invading Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan and similar war-crimes?
    G”).

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