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Australia United Nations human rights commissioner criticises Australia's asylum-seeker policies

14:10  09 october  2019
14:10  09 october  2019 Source:   abc.net.au

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The United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet reveals during a speech in Sydney she has serious concerns about Australia ' s migration and asylum policies Ms Bachelet also criticised the "public narrative in Australia " that surrounds the policies . (Twitter: United Nations ).

A senior United Nations official has criticised Australia ' s asylum seeker policy , saying it has lead to a "chain of human rights violations". The incoming UN High Commissioner for Human Rights , Jordan's Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein, singled out human rights violations in Syria, Iraq and Gaza in his first

Ms Bachelet also criticised the © ABC News Ms Bachelet also criticised the "public narrative in Australia" that surrounds the policies. The United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has serious concerns about Australia's migration and asylum policies.

During a Whitlam Institute Oration speech in Sydney on Wednesday, Ms Bachelet said the concerns included Australia's "so-called offshore processing regime and prolonged mandatory detention of refugees and asylum seekers".

Ms Bachelet also criticised the "public narrative in Australia" that surrounds the policies.

"Which I fear has become weaponised by misinformation and discriminatory — and even racist — attitudes, including with respect to Islam," Ms Bachelet said.

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The United Nations high commissioner for human rights Michelle Bachelet has serious concerns about Australia ' s migration and asylum policies . The United Nations Human Rights Committee asks Australia to end the "existing situation of detention" for the Sri Lankan Tamil family being held

A leading international human rights group has blasted Australia ' s asylum - seeker policy as "abusive" and says a serious rethink is needed to restore the country's standing globally. Human Rights Watch, one of the world's most prominent rights campaign organisations, has said in its yearly

"Targeting migrants as convenient scapegoats for a range of society's troubles is a practice that is certainly not limited to Australia.

"Around the world we see some politicians and would-be opinion leaders who are only too eager to demonise some of society's most vulnerable and marginalised people for political gain."

During the election campaign, Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged to freeze the number of humanitarian visas during the next term of government if the Coalition won.

When he announced the policy, Mr Morrison promised to cap the number of migrants coming to Australia each year as refugees at 18,750, and unveiled a suite of measures outlining precisely who would be allowed to stay.

Ms Bachelet urged compassion and humanity from authorities managing the issue.

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"Desperate human beings seeking safety and dignity are victims, not criminals," she said.

"They are people just like us, tired and in need, and they are moving, many of them because they have no other choice.

"It seems to me very unfortunate that Australia, a country of migrants, has opted out of this important global discussion to find cooperative solutions.

"If we refuse dialogue, inclusion, respect and justice, we are in effect enabling injustice, cruelty, grievance and tensions that may fuel greater conflicts."

Ms Bachelet then spoke of the dissatisfaction people worldwide currently had with democracy.

She warned, pointing to the Extinction Rebellion demonstrations happening in 60 cities around the world, people would only continue to disengage if their participation was not met with "responsive and responsible policies".

"Policymakers need to listen to their demands," she said.

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Australia ’ s human rights record has been scrutinised by more than 100 countries at the UN , with the treatment of India, a country to where Australia tried to return 157 Sri Lankan asylum seekers , said Australia should review its mandatory detention policies and ensure refugees were never sent back

"Leaders — not just political leaders, but social and business leaders too — can and should encourage greater participation and involvement by young people, whose lives will be shaped by the issues that are coming to the fore right now.

"Rather than fuelling cynicism about the value of participation, they could and should be encouraging people to advocate policies that align with our most important personal convictions and ideals."

Bachelet responds to PM's swipe at UN

Ms Bachelet appeared to use part of her speech to respond to Mr Morrison's veiled swipe at the United Nations last week.

Mr Morrison used an important foreign policy lecture to urge against a "new variant" of what he called "negative globalism", saying he did not want to see organisations like the UN getting involved in the governance of independent nations.

Ms Bachelet said there was "rarely a serious gap between the interest of humanity, and the national interest of [her] country".

"If a policy seems in the short term to advance a narrow interest, but hurts the future of humanity, that policy is surely counter-productive," she said.

"We sometimes hear human rights being dismissed as supposedly "globalist" — as opposed to the patriotic interest of a sovereign government.

"But how can any state's interests be advanced by policies that damage the wellbeing of all humanity?"

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