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Exportation of injustice and inhumanity draws international condemnation.

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Senator Andrew Bartlett Australian Democrats’ Immigration Spokesperson

27 September 2002 MEDIA RELEASE 02/471

Exportation of injustice and inhumanity draws international condemnation The first anniversary of Australia’s controversial Border Protection and Migration legislation has been marked with the release of a highly critical report from the US-based Human Rights Watch organisation.

The report condemns the Australian Government for its policies of punishment and penalty and shows that the Federal Government is trying to export its excision of human rights internationally, say the Australian Democrats.

Democrats’ immigration and multicultural spokesperson, Senator Andrew Bartlett, says that the Howard Government, not content with terrifying thousands of desperate and frightened people seeking asylum in Australia is now trying to export its policies of injustice and inhumanity internationally.

Senator Bartlett said, “During my recent study tour which included Indonesia, Europe and England, I saw first-hand how these overseas countries were striving to manage the asylum seeker crisis. It was evident that each country was dealing with the issue with varying degrees of success.

“Yet, it was also obvious that there had been a shift away from the majority of Europe seeking a global solution to the issue, particularly among the more prosperous nations.

“Of particular concern was Europe’s increasing interest in the negative model pedalled by the Howard Government.

“It was shocking to consider that in years to come one of Australia’s most exportable ‘commodities’ in 2002 might, in fact, be the introduction of the developed world’s most restrictive and retrograde refugee policies.

“The Government’s zealousness for promulgating its policies of hatred and fear internationally are seemingly Australia’s only contribution to the global refugee crisis.

“For more than three years now, Australia has actively criticised, ignored and challenged the UN’s interpretations of its own conventions on human rights and refugees.

“It’s now clear that these actions have had an enormous impact on the level of protection afforded refugees in pursuit of asylum, particularly those travelling through a third country.

“The Democrats join the Human Rights Watch organisation in their condemnation of the Government’s outrageous asylum seeker policies,” Senator Bartlett concluded.

For interview: Senator Bartlett on 0418 743 789 or (02) 6277 3406