Saturday September 15, 2012 9:00am WST
For Immediate Release
"Now that the Nauruan government's foreign minister Kieren Keke has finally spilled the beans by telling Australia via ABC Radio that asylum seekers transferred to his country will be assessed under Nauruan Law, there is not a shred of credibility or human rights decency left for Australia's Immigration Minister Chris Bowen - who for weeks has consistently refused to answer a multitude of questions from reporters about the legal frameworks that underpin the Gillard government's Pacific Solution Mark 2.0 - and there is not a shred of decency left for Australia as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention," WA Human Rights group Project SafeCom said this morning.
"Never before in the history of the UN Refugee Convention has a signatory country had the brazen audacity to suggest that it can persuade another country - in exchange for massive amounts of dollars in brown paper bags - to take on its legal obligations to process asylum seekers arriving on its shores under its own law. Not until now, with Bowen and Gillard's Australia's new offshore processing policy. Compared to the previous offshore processing arrangements under the Howard government, this arrangement emanates an almighty stench, that already has started to waft around the international community, in the United Nations in New York and other corridors of power. There will be hell to pay for the Gillard government now that it has lowered Australia and made it into The World's Greatest Refugee Convention Pariah," spokesman Jack H Smit said.
"Yesterday evening I was able to brief some of the world's most eminent migration lawyers and human rights organisations at the United Nations in New York and elsewhere about the Gillard government's offshore processing policy following Kieren Keke's announcements, and already links are being made between this policy and Australia's push for a seat on the United Nations Security Council," Mr Smit said.
"The time is close to the day that prominent world leaders start speaking out about Australia as "the supreme leader and destroyer" of asylum seeker rights and as the country that has never quite measured up against the minimum standards of human rights behaviour compared to not only most other western countries but many non-western countries. And when that day has come, politicians in both the Labor government and the Coalition parties will and should cower and weave and duck for cover. Such world community condemnation will target Australia's attitude to asylum seekers as well as its neocolonial oppression of Indigenous Australians, and I expect that condemnation to take place in connection with Australia's push for a seat on the UN Security Council," Mr Smit concluded.
Jack H Smit
Project SafeCom Inc.
[phone number posted]