ALA labels Gillard asylum seeker measures 'cruel and outrageous'

15th Aug 2012

The Australian Lawyers Alliance is labelling as ‘cruel and outrageous’ rushed Federal Government plans to process asylum seekers in both Nauru and Manus Island by Friday.

“The Prime Minister’s inhumane plans are beyond comprehension. Keeping innocent, traumatised people in detention on Nauru and Manus Island beyond 12 months and for up to five years, is morally repugnant,” Australian Lawyers Alliance National Director, Greg Barns, said.

“These people have committed no crime and are already incredibly traumatised.

"The Gillard Government is setting Australia up for massive compensation claims that will dwarf the $22 million already paid out on asylum seekers and is giving weight to a growing international image of a heartless, inhumane country,” Mr Barns said.

He said instead of championing humanitarian measures that protected and underpinned a caring democracy, Australia was complicit in persecuting and discriminating against some of the world’s most vulnerable people.

And rather than shirk international responsibility towards asylum seekers, Australia should cast aside the vestiges of a White Australia Policy that continued to contaminate its political judgement and foresight.

“Just as the United States benefitted from post World War II refugees stimulating and driving its economic prosperity, so Australia stands to benefit from embracing such culturally diverse and resilient people.

"Australians should reject any government that fails to recognise its international human rights obligations – too much is at stake."

Tags: Human rights Compensation Asylum seekers and refugees