The Australian Greens today condemned the passing of the Nauru designation instrument as the Government and Coalition voted down Greens amendments that would have limited the harm caused to refugees by the Gillard government's new Pacific ‘Solution'.
"Labor and the Coalition have given the green light to dump children, unaccompanied minors and pregnant women in prison camps on Nauru indefinitely with no protections, against the expert advice of humanitarian organisations including the UN" said Senator Sarah Hanson-Young.
"Rather than caring for refugees Labor and the Coalition have lined up together to pass laws that will cost vulnerable people's lives, inflict damage to children and fail to stop desperate asylum seekers taking boat journeys.
"The truth is neither Labor or Tony Abbott can be trusted to treat refugees humanely, and today they have joined forces to make sure they don't have to.
"Both Labor and the Coalition voted against putting a time limit on how long Australia will leave refugees in detention and have refused to establish an independent health panel to monitor the welfare and care of those left on Nauru.
"The UNHCR and the Houston Panel both listed key welfare protections that are the absolute minimum necessary to care for refugees who have their applications processed offshore, but those details and protections are non-existent in the designation that Parliament has today approved.
"The Greens and refugee experts know that we can protect and care for refugees by giving them hope that they can be safely resettled directly from Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan without boarding a boat.
"The boats are still coming because the punishment of being dumped on Nauru does not deter desperate people. What has the Australian government done to get out on the ground in Indonesia and let people know that they have the chance of a safer pathway and a visa if they don't take a boat?
"The Greens have always said that punitive offshore dumping will not work as a deterrent but giving people safer pathways than a risky boat will.
"The Gillard's Pacific ‘Solution' is a cruel hoax that won't save lives, will inflict more suffering to refugees, flouts the Refugee Convention, and will cost Australian tax-payers billions of dollars.
Media contact: Ali Neyle 0427 604 760
These are protections recommended by the UNHCR which are not adequately addressed by the Nauru designation and arrangements
Source: Letter dated 5 September 2012 to Minister Bowen from High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres
These are protections recommended by the Houston Panel which are not adequately addressed by the Nauru designation and arrangements
Source: Report of the Expert Panel on Asylum Seekers, August 2012 Paragraph 3.46