Amnesty International Australia has responded to a damning report from the United Nations Committee Against Torture which found Australia’s asylum seeker policies contravene the torture convention.
Amnesty International's Acting Government Relations Manager Sophie Nicolle recently returned from the Committee meeting in Geneva to deliver the organisation’s submission.
Ms Nicolle was part of a group of delegates from 11 countries including: Tunisia, Norway, Sweden, Ukraine and Australia, who gave submissions at the hearing as part of the 4 year review process.
The Committee considered the submissions and delivered a report from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) looking into how signatories of the UN torture convention adhered to its principles.
“The UN Committee against Torture has sent an unequivocal message to Australia that its asylum seeker policies, including detaining asylum seeker children and offshore processing in appalling conditions, are entirely unacceptable and must stop,” Ms Nicolle said.
“The Committee has also seized on the Bill the government is attempting to push through the Senate, that, if passed, will remove any requirement to consider when denying a request for asylum, whether a person will be tortured or persecuted if they are returned home.
“The Committee has confirmed what Amnesty International has continued to say: the Australian government is responsible for the human rights violations taking place at the centres on Manus and Nauru.
“The government's feeble attempts to claim they are not responsible, despite the fact they transfer asylum seekers there, pay the bill for processing and contract detention staff, has had no sway with the UN.
“The UN has sent a clear message to Australia that its inhumane asylum seeker policies must end.
“If Australia wants to adhere the convention it’s a signatory to, it must urgently remove all children from immigration detention, end offshore processing and withdraw the Migration and Maritime Powers Legislation Amendment (Resolving the Legacy Caseload) Bill 2014 from parliament.