29 Nov 2014

UN Committee finds Australia's asylum seeker policies 'concerning'

2:21 pm on 29 November 2014

The United Nations Committee Against Torture has criticised Australia's asylum seeker policies, including the detention of children and its use of off-shore processing centres.

The Committee has just completed its review of Australia under the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and released its findings.

A small group of Muslim refugees pray at sunset while other refugees (background) participate in a football match at a camp for the asylum seekers on the small island of Nauru, 20 September 2001.

Asylum seekers on Nauru Photo: AFP

The Human Rights Law Centre's Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb, was in Geneva for the review and briefed the Committee along with other NGO representatives and Government officials.

Mr Webb says the Committee has made it abundantly clear that it has profound concerns over Australia's treatment of asylum seekers.

"It's disappointing to see Australia spoken of in such clearly condemning concerns and I think it is pretty clear from the nature of the UN report that Australia is gaining a reputation on the world stage as a law-breaker."

The Human Rights Law Centre's Director of Legal Advocacy, Daniel Webb.

The Committee has also expressed concern at the rates of violence against women and indigenous imprisonment in Australia.

The Australian Government is required to report back to the Committee on the steps it has taken to implement UN recommendations by November 2015.