29 Aug 2002

Amnesty fears that countries may adopt policies similar to Australia's Pacific solution

10:56 am on 29 August 2002

Amnesty International says it's concerned that other countries may copy Australia's "Pacific solution" to solve their problems with asylum seekers.

Amnesty's Graeme Thom, says others may use the Pacific Solution as a model policy because of the Howard government's claim that it has successfully reduced the number of boatpeople heading to Australia.

In a report called "Australia-Pacific, Offending Human Dignity", Amnesty International condemned the Howard government for denying people, fleeing persecution, the right to enter a country and seek asylum under the UN Convention on Refugees.

Graeme Thom says some countries regard detention as a last resort, using instead hostel accomodation and that asylum seekers report to law enforcement agencies on a regular basis.

He says those countries could drop such policies and develop more hardline ones similar to Australia's Pacific Solution.

"How are other countries going to react when people start trying to enter their countries. What's to stop those people saying, Look if Australia is allowing this sort of policy to happen why can't we have that sort of policy. And then, in that sense, the rights of people to flee persecution and receive protection are going to be seriously damaged."

Graeme Thom from Amnesty International