14 Mar 2013

UN Torture Rapporteur concerned by Australia's treatment of asylum seekers

8:13 am on 14 March 2013

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture says Australia's treatment of asylum seekers in detention is not up to international standards.

Professor Juan Mendez says that the situation in Fiji, the treatment of women accused of sorcery in Papua New Guinea and conditions of Australia's detention centres both feature in reports to his office.

He says Australia needs effective mechanisms to meet its obligations under the Convention against Torture.

"The international law requires that states entertain asylum claims and particularly not return anybody to a place where he or she could be tortured. But that doesn't mean that in the meantime they have to stay a long time in prison. Especially the physical and treatment conditions in the detention centres is not up to international standards."

Juan Mendez also says the Fiji government must not allow any cover-up of torture incidents, following the release of a video of two escaped prisoners being beaten