Australia, 2002: The United Nations Commissioner for Human Rights, Mrs. Mary Robinson, requested Justice P.N. Bhagwati, Regional Advisor for Asia and the Pacific, to visit and report on the treatment of asylum seekers in detention in Australia in 2002, specifically focussing on the Woomera IRPC in South Australia. This report focused on ‘…the human rights issues related to the conditions of detention and the treatment of persons in the immigration facilities…’ (Bhagwati, 2008). Under ‘General Impression’ the first paragraph of the report reads as follows:
Justice Bhagwati was considerably distressed by what he saw and heard in Woomera. He met men, women and children who had been in detention for several months, some of them even for one or two years. They were prisoners without having committed any offence. Their only fault was that they had left their native home and sought to find refuge or a better life on the Australian soil. In virtual prison-like conditions in the detention centre, they lived initially in the hope that soon their incarceration will come to an end, but with the passage of time, the hope gave way to despair…He felt that he was in front of a great human tragedy. He saw young boys and girls, who instead of breathing the fresh air of freedom, were confined behind spiked iron bars…these children were growing up in an environment which affected their physical and mental growth and many of them were traumatised and led to harm themselves in utter despair.
Australia 2011: Change the names, dates and detention centres.
A DECADE OF COMPLETE FAILURE ON THE PART OF ALL POLITICAL PARTIES
- Security checks on asylum seekers fast-tracked (theage.com.au)
- UN condemns Australia on refugees (bbc.co.uk)
- Pacific Solution preferable:rights expert (news.theage.com.au)
- UN rights watchdog says Aussie refugee swap racist (sfgate.com)
- UN rights watchdog says Aussie refugee swap racist (seattletimes.nwsource.com)
- Stop demonising asylum seekers:UN official (news.theage.com.au)
- UN warns on refugee return plan (theage.com.au)
- UN rights watchdog says Aussie refugee swap racist (foxnews.com)