28 Sep 2011

UN call on Australia to rethink asylem seeker debate

5:21 pm on 28 September 2011

There has been a call by the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights for Australia to review the way it deals with asylum seekers.

The Office's Pacific representative, Matilda Bogner, says the right to seek asylum and be treated humanely is enshrined in international law.

Ms Bogner says there is a consequence of the damaging political rhetoric that Australia is being flooded by people who are described as queue jumpers.

She says this has resulted in a stigmatisation of an entire group of people, irrespective of where they have come from or what dangers they may have fled.

Her comment comes as Australia is again debating options of processing asylum seekers abroad, including in Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

She says the UN has already expressed long-standing concerns that Australia's mandatory immigration detention regime is in breach of Australia's international human rights obligations.