While most of us would like the think the rest of the world sees us as an easy going and welcoming country, it turns out not everyone agrees.
In a damning report handed down overnight, Australia was given a stern talking to by the Human Rights Watch (HRW) for the way it continues to handle anti-terrorism laws and asylum seekers.
Australia has very strict regulations around both policies, but the off-shore detention program in particular has stirred up debate and drawn criticism for a number of years.
Now the HRW has lashed out again, branding us “repressive”, “abusive” and a “failure”.
“Australia has a duty to protect the most vulnerable and I think it is failing in that duty, across the board,” Elaine Pearson, Human Rights Watch’s Australia director, told the Huffington Post Australia.
“A lot of countries are really concerned about Australia’s human rights reputation and the way in which it is failing to protect vulnerable groups including children.”
She went on the say it was the view of the HRW that the government was deliberately ignoring reports of abuse on Nauru and Manus Island and was dragging its feet on the promise to shut down the Manus detention centre.
“The people on Manus and Nauru don’t have more time to wait. They have already been there for three years in these horrible conditions,” she said.
“The government is not listening to criticisms on human rights.
“I think the government is stubbornly refusing to acknowledge the abuses that are happening in Nauru and Manus and that is despite the fact throughout last year we had countless UN agencies and independent experts all criticising Australia about the human impact of offshore detention policies.”
So does Australia need to clean up it’s act here?
Tony Abbott famously told the HRW to basically bugger off after they criticised our treatment of asylum seekers while he was in power and many are saying Malcolm Turnbull is taking a similar approach.
We’d like to hear your view on this big issue today.