Nauru Camp Torture Claims are False, Australia PM says
Australia has rejected a claim by rights group Amnesty International that conditions on a tiny South Pacific island where about 400 Australian-bound asylum-seekers are held “amount to torture”. Under Australia’s tough immigration policy, asylum-seekers intercepted trying to reach the country by boat are sent for processing at a camp in Nauru or to Manus Island in Papua New Guinea and are not eligible for resettlement in Australia. Many asylum-seekers on Nauru are being driven to attempt suicide to escape the prison-like conditions they face in indefinite detention, Amnesty alleged in a detailed report.
“I reject that claim totally. It is absolutely false,” Malcolm Turnbull, the Prime Minister, told Australian
Broadcasting Corp radio on Tuesday of the torture claim. “The Australian government’s commitment is compassionate and strong.” The detention was a “systematic regime of neglect and cruelty,” said Amnesty, adding that its findings were based on both desk research and field work in Nauru between July and October. “The conditions on Nauru - refugees’ severe mental anguish, the intentional nature of the system, and the fact that the goal of offshore processing is to intimidate or coerce people to achieve a specific outcome - amounts to torture,” it added. Al Jazeera
Criticism for policy against human rights defenders
New York: The United Nations has called on the Australian Government to dispel civil society’s growing concerns about the chilling effect of its recent laws, policies and actions constraining the rights of human rights defenders. The call was made by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michael Forst at the end of his first factfinding visit to Australia. Mr Forst said he was astounded by the frequent public vilification of rights defenders by senior government officials, in a seeming attempt to discredit, intimidate and discourage them from their legitimate work. He said the media and business actors have contributed to this stigmatisation. RNZI