Nauru Camp Tor­ture Claims are False, Aus­tralia PM says

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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

Mal­colm Turn­bull.

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