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HR Commissioner's comments discredit offshore processing regime



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AUSTRALIAN GREENS MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

HR Commissioner’s comments discredit offshore processing regime

The Human Rights Commissioner’s comments regarding offshore processing on Nauru have shown just how unacceptable the situation there is, the Australian Greens said.

“The top expert on human rights in Australia has recognised that the human rights breaches that are happening on Nauru are totally unacceptable,” Greens’ spokesperson for immigration, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said.

“I will be writing to the Immigration Minister’s office, requesting access to the Nauru detention centre, because it is essential that the conditions there be understood for what they are.

“Professor Gillian Triggs has added her voice to the chorus of experts who are lining up to criticise the Government’s offshore detention regime, but it seems the Government is not listening.

"Last time Labor put a freeze on processing it was a humanitarian disaster; people were hurt and the system crumbled.

“It was a bad decision then, and it is a terrible policy now.

“Professor Triggs understands that refugees have a legal right to have their claims for asylum assessed without being arbitrarily detained, so why doesn’t the Government?

“A freeze on the processing of asylum claims is unacceptable; it breaches international asylum laws, it flies in the face of Australia’s fair go beliefs and it serves to increase the mental strain on the already vulnerable people who are locked up offshore.

“Professor Triggs has asked to meet with Minister Bowen as quickly as possible, and the Government must listen to the advice of the person they appointed as the Australian Human Rights Commissioner.”

Australian Greens Leader, Senator Christine Milne, said:

“Trying to hide what the Australian Government is doing in Nauru is wrong and will rightly draw scrutiny and criticism when Australia takes up its position on the UN Security Council unless the Government reverses its decision and provides access for the Human Rights Commissioner.

“Prime Minister Gillard and Minister Kate Lundy will have misled both houses of parliament if they try to pretend that Australia’s actions in sending people to indefinite detention is in any way consistent with our international obligations.

“Changing the law in Australia to excise human rights doesn’t excise them from our international and moral obligations.”

Media Contact: Alex Lamb - 0437 587 562 Noah Schultz-Byard - 0427 604 760