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Questionable Treatment Of Refugee And Asylum Seekers Continues In Australia

Three Somali asylum seekers have presented a request to Australian immigration officials to be sent home citing “depression, trauma and anxiety and mental pressure” within Australia’s detention centers and therefore “prefer to go back to Somalia and die as innocent victims.” The asylum seekers have been kept behind barbed-wire fences at the Port Headland detention center since arriving in Australia and submitting applications for asylum. Earlier this year, the United Nations (UN) criticized Australia’s policy of holding refugee and asylum seekers in detention camps while their refugee applications are reviewed. According to the Refugee Council of Australia, “(Australia) is the only country that detains all people that arrive without documentation, whether they are a risk to the community or not.”

During the UN Millennium Summit held in New York, Australia announced that it will not ratify the optional protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) and asked that the treaty be removed from UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s list of international covenants to be signed. On August 28, 2000, Australia announced that it would “veto nearly all visits by UN human rights investigators in response to criticisms of (its) treatment of Aborigines and asylum-seekers.”

Sources:

BBC News 27 September, 2000, Feminist Majority Global News Wire 31 August 2000