Australia's Treatment of Asylum Seekers

In the last week, Australia has been condemned by various international non-governmental organizations for its treatment of asylum seekers in off-shore detention centers. In 2014, Australia implemented a defence policy that aimed to stop illegal boats of asylum seekers from arriving on-shore. This policy involved establishing processing centers on nearby island countries and territories, including Nauru and Christmas Island. In these detention centers, asylum seekers wait for processing into Australia in horrendous and unlivable conditions.

Currently, the island of Nauru houses 1,200 asylum seekers, the majority of whom have been in processing for three years. In these detention centers, Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International reported that these individuals experience serious mistreatment and neglect. Asylum seekers were often deprived of medical care and develop serious mental health issues. In some cases, children reported feelings of suicide and self-harm, but little was done medically to treat these individuals. This level of torture and neglect led human rights researchers to declare that Australia had violated the fundamental right not to be tortured, as well as various other detention rights. 

Despite being a signatory to the Convention on the Status of Refugees and the Geneva Convention, the Australian Government has asserted that the asylum seeker detention facilities act as a deterrent for illegal human trafficking and the spread of terrorism. However, the government has provided limited legal rights to these asylum seekers, which would allow them to assert their status as true seekers of asylum. 

Image Credit: Al Jazeera

Date Published: 

Tuesday, August 2, 2016