The Australian Government should choose to do the right thing and shut down its offshore detention centres, instead of running the risk of being forced to do so by the PNG legal system, the Australian Greens said today.
“The indefinite and arbitrary detention of refugee children is beyond moral comprehension and the Australian Government must act to bring these children back to Australia before any more damage is done,” the Greens’ immigration spokesperson, Senator Sarah Hanson-Young said today.
“The detention of these children is an international disgrace and a direct result of the race to the bottom between the Labor Party and Tony Abbott.
“The Australian Government should pre-empt a potential embarrassing legal defeat and close the inhumane and hugely expensive detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru.
“The Manus Island facility has been plagued with problems from the beginning and a successful legal challenge from PNG’s opposition leader would see the Australian Government forced to shut it down.
“Seeing as the Australian Government has consistently ignored our humanitarian obligations and broken international law it isn’t surprising to hear that it could hit another serious complication in PNG.
“It doesn’t take a legal expert to understand that it is unethical to arbitrarily and indefinitely lock up people, including children, when they have committed no crime.
“Our nation was once built on a proud and inclusive immigration policy and many people still believe that turning our backs on vulnerable people who are asking for our help is not the Australian way.
“The billions of dollars that are being spent on these island prisons could be used to help improve the refugee processing capacity of countries in our region while also increasing the quality of life in Australia for citizens and refugees alike.”
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