Australia Condemned for Poor Handling of Children.
Australia has recently been slammed for its human rights record. A Human Rights Watch report specifically condemned Australia’s poor handling of the mistreatment of children held in detention centres, the overrepresentation of Indigenous people in prison populations, the draconian asylum seeker policies supported by both major political parties, overly broad counterterrorism laws, and the absence of marriage equality.
Recently, footage was released of the horrific conditions and the mistreatment of children in Northern Territory and Queensland youth detention centres. The gruesome CCTV footage showed tear-gassing, hooding, shackling, and stripping of children. The countless human rights violations present in the CCTV footage led to a national outcry and led to the Prime Minister announcing a Royal Commission into youth detention in the Northern Territory.
Australia Draconian Asylum Policy Criticised.
Australia’s draconian asylum seeker policies were also criticised. The Human Rights Watch recommended that Australia take responsibility for the refugees it has placed in Papua New Guinea and Nauru, as well as those held in detention on the mainland.
Conservative forces that support a hardline approach to asylum seekers argue that there is a fine balance to be struck between protecting our shores and international human rights standards. It is concerning to see both sides of the political spectrum supporting current asylum seeker policies. Australia accepts approximately 190,000 people as new migrants each year, and only around 10% of that number are refugees or asylum seekers. Why is it that the nation is willing to welcome economic migrants at the expense of people in desperate situations fleeing war, violence, and persecution? Australian political establishments must be convinced to change this double standard.
As Elaine Pearson, director at Human Rights Watch, said, “if Australia wants to be a global human rights leader, then it should take immediate steps to rectify their human rights violations.”
BA(UNSW), LLB (MacqU)