Australia is not in the good books of human rights activists today. PM Turnbull has been facing criticism for Australia’s controversial policy of asylum that has allegedly led to the torture of several refugees from Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Iraq, Iran and Myanmar (Burma). Several people from these countries endure a dangerous sea journey from Indonesia to come to Australia in search of refuge from violence or persecution from their own governments. The number of asylum seekers increased sharply in 2013 from 2012 and caused a great deal of agitation in the country. In an attempt to discourage further refugees, the government revived a policy it had ended in 2008 – to detain and resettle the migrants in Nauru and Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Reports have claimed that the facilities in the places are inadequate and miserable and several refugees end up being tortured by the locals in one way or another. The government also introduced a new policy of intercepting refugees in the sea and sending them back to Indonesia or home. This has not gone down well with the international community, who calls it racist and sees it is a careless violation of international law.
Australia has defended its actions by saying that the refugees come with the help of smugglers and it is its duty to stop such criminal activity. Responding to the “alarming” claims of violence in recent reports, PM Turnbull said:
“The one thing we know is these policies, tough though they are, harsh though they are in many respects, actually do work, they save lives”
“We’re taking a number of steps to work closely with the Nauru government to ensure the safety and the security of all the refugees living in that community.”