Australia criticised by Iran and North Korea on human rights

Australia is a proud nation – we are wealthy, lucky, progressive and offer a fair go to any man. At

Australia is a proud nation – we are wealthy, lucky, progressive and offer a fair go to any man. At least, that’s what most of us like to believe.

So it comes as a huge blow to be taken to task by dozens of countries at a United Nations human rights forum.

But that’s exactly what’s happened overnight at the Palais des Nations in Geneva during a review of Australia’s human rights policies, embarrassingly, just as Australia is trying to secure a two-year position on the UN Human Rights Council.

More than 100 countries reviewed our policies and gave recommendations on how they can be improved. According to a Fairfax media report, “dozens” of countries raised concerns, including Brazil, Turkey, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Bangladesh, Rwanda, Iran and North Korea.

Australia was criticised in three key areas: our treatment of boat people, having women and children in offshore detention centres, and our failure to raise the living standards of Indigenous Australians.

Our high level of violence against women and the rise of “Islamophobia” were also called into account.

Many countries wanted Australia to ratify an international convention that would allow international teams to review and oversee our offshore processing centres.

Other criticisms and recommendation included:

  • France called for Australia to “develop alternatives to the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, especially when dealing with children”.
  • Germany recommended Australia “remove children and their families, and other individuals at risk – in particular survivors of torture and trauma – from immigration detention centres”.
  • Bangladesh was concerned about “firsthand reports of discrimination and racism, particularly associated with Islamophobia”.
  • China said Australia should safeguard the human rights of “all refugees and asylum seekers who reach Australian shores”.

Australian delegates MP Philip Ruddock and Steve McGlynn, from the Immigration Department defended Australia’s policies saying that offshore processing and turning back boats ultimately “saved lives”.

However, Professor Gillian Triggs, president of the Australian Human Rights Commission, said Australia’s response  had been, at some points, “deeply misleading” and that there were “definitely common themes of concern”.

“About 75 per cent of recommendations were about detention centres, mandatory detention especially in relation to children and the stop-the-boats policy that failed to recognise the rights of asylum seekers… that was probably the majority view,” she said.

“There is real international concern about Australia’s asylum-seeker policies… (there is) a disappointment that we have strayed from our international obligations.”

Do you think Australia is on track on human rights issues or do you think the criticisms are fair? 

  1. This is the pot calling the kettle black in so many ways, especially North Korea. What a joke!

  2. This is a hard one. However to be criticized by Korea and Islam – I find amusing. underlying, would it be they want their people invading this country ‘legally’? The people they are complaining about are ones that allegedly don’t like the way they gave been treated in their own countries.
    I do not agree with overseas detention centres mainly because of shifting the problem and hiding the actions taken there being an excuse to condone dreadful inhumanity to adults and children alike!

  3. When countries like North Korea, China and Iran are criticizing our human rights issues, then it might be time stop and have a good think about what it is we are doing or not doing in human rights. I don’t want an Australia that is not concerned about it citizens or the citizens of other countries, I want to live in a caring and considerate country who respects everyone rights

    • Katherine Angel I am of the of the opinion that North Korea thinks we are bad, then we must be bloody shocking and if you look at that list, many western countries think we are too

    • I am sure you could not Dave Deacon, nor could you care about these asylum seekers, but you are only one of 24 million Australian’s , there are many out there who do care

    • Caring about asylum seekers and caring what North Korea, China and Iran think are two different things.

    • then don’t care somewhere else Rosina Auld, don’t tell me because I have nothing but contempt for those who see the suffering of others and stay complacent about it

    • I agree with you their to a point Lynn Genthner, we want to to take the high moral ground over any human rights issue, we don’t want to the ones being condemned, it is not good for this country

    • Being condemned by countries who should note: people who live in glass houses…..
      Our energy needs to be directed in letting our politicians and powers that be know what we want to happen, not answering bullies.

    • If I broke the laws in their countries I would be locked up too and probably treated worse than how Australia treats its detainees, take off your blinkers please!

    • I think it is a disgrace what we are doing here, Australia is not a third world country, why do we behave in a third world manner, how can Naru process these hundreds of Asylum seekers in a week, when it takes Australia years to process one

    • It wasn’t just countries like Iran and North Korea. It was also countries including Switzerland and Sweden.
      Try reading the whole story rather than picking out pieces that suit your racist view.
      I’m with Libbi Elliot on this one.
      And all brought about by the LNP.

    • Well if I saw someone lying in a gutter bleeding and in distress. I would feel really ashamed if I looked the other way and walked on by.surely trying to help people and compassion . Is what makes us different to other other species we share the planet with. What sort of a society are we turning into.when we lock up woman and children.

    • it is costing us billions to house them for years Julie Slack, you don’t think Manus and Naru are housing them for free do you?

    • it cost this country $3 thousand dollars per person per day to lock these people up Julie Slack, it is not only Manus and Naru who are payed millions to have the detention centers there, there is all the security staff on 3 Islands and everything that goes with it.. it is not just a matter of giving them a bed and tossing them a can of baked beans

    • Lynne Genthner – “glass houses” indeed. I think you will find our own house is made of very fragile glass when it comes to our treatment of asylum seekers.

    • Libbi I’m sorry but what haven’t we already done just by housing them in refugee camps centres at OUR expense the chinese korean and iran governments don’t exactly re-imburse these $$$$ so what exactly have we not done enough of? Boo f’ing hoo there are thousands of aussies out there who are being short changed because we”re too busy worrying about our image am9ngst the world instead of looking after our own first

    • Yvonne Clark how about they process them quicker and resettle these people, they are locking women and children up and many are sexually abused, we had one poor woman twice to Australia for an abortion after she was raped because Dutton sent her back the first time before the operation, you are right we are being short bloody change, process these people and get them resettled and stop abusing them, taxpayers are paying for it.. not you Liberals

    • Rosalind…considering we give a shit who enters the country and stays permanently its pretty obvious Naru don’t have the same due diligence. I’d rather have uncertainty for 10 years plus and live in a detention centre over risking being processed so fast that within a week all the money i spent to leave was simply money down the drain…which do you think is the more humane approach?

    • Rosalind, get the story straight, she changed her mind constantly trying to extort God knows what from the Australian government, all the while ably assisted and advised by the trouble making refugee advocates, as for the rape allegation, well I can’t recall that being proven either……..and I’m a taxpayer, I want our own needy people and our aged people looked after better before those from other countries… begins at home!

    • Ron Whalan that woman was given no time to think about her position, she was given no counselling, she was a rape victim and was flown out on a privet jet at a cost $100 thousand dollars to taxpayers, Dutton was wrong that is why they had to bring her back..get your story right

  4. If only all countries would hold themselves truly accountable to the UN!! Unfortunately it seems more like a toothless tiger, providing a forum for self-righteousness.

  5. It has to be a joke, north korea telling other countries about human rights, please!!!!!!

    • North Korea. A country where the ruler puts his own relatives in an arena & laughs & watches hungry dogs rip them to pieces. Please!!!

    • 100 countries signed that protest and this Liberal Government wants a seat on the UN Council, I think their chances of getting a seat are nil

  6. Regardless of the comments made by China & N Korea, we should be ashamed of ourselves incarcerating refugees especially children, it’s appalling. After the comments made by other nations at the UN perhaps Malcolm Turnbull will finally do something!

    • North Korea and China what a laugh they are not helping maybe we should send them all there for them to look after why did they not ask for them to be sent there so they could pay to house and feed them

    • There are more countries than North Korea and China that list you are conveniently overlooking the other countries Like Germany and France Pauline Lloyd

    • June Denison  

      Mkke here-the reasons for taking so many illegals in European countries is that they don’t have a snowballs hope in hell of stopping them.

  7. how odd this came up now I was just reading where Dutton will not rule out using rubber bullets on protestors at Christmas Island !! We not only lock them up for years without charges being made now are we are going to shoot them with rubber bullets..what next the firing squad ?

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