August 20, 2012
Australian reconnaissance teams will return to Australia on Monday night after assessing the run-down immigration facilities on Manus Island and Nauru.
Two teams have been sent to check what work needs to be done before the detention centres are ready to accommodate asylum seekers from Christmas Island.
The advance teams will report back to the government before the first batch of asylum seekers are housed overseas for processing.
The newly appointed President of the Human Rights Commission Gillian Triggs says she has serious concerns about the new legislation.
“We at least have to watch and to assess the exact treatment over the next few weeks and months, so we can’t leap in necessarily to be overly critical or to judge the future by the past,” she said.
“Certainly, the indications are at the moment and the very robust language being used suggests that there will be significant breaches of basic human rights, particularly the Refugee Convention.”
The Australian Government has passed legislation to reinstate offshore processing in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
It says asylum seekers will have to wait for as long as they would if they had not got on a boat.
Professor Triggs says she’s particularly concerned the legislation denies asylum seekers access to the courts.
“The court no longer has the capacity to determine whether the Minister has made an appropriate designation of a country it’s become an executive decision, subject admittedly to parliamentary scrutiny but in the current climate perhaps we’re not going to see that- to cut out access to the court in this way is very worrying.”
The Australian Government says there is considerable work needed at the centre on Nauru, despite a claim by the Opposition that it was ready to go.