15 Dec 2014

Aust HR group says funding cuts political payback

5:08 pm on 15 December 2014

A rights advocacy group in Australia says it seems the government there is cutting funding to the Human Rights Commission because of the body's inquiries into its treatment of asylum seekers.

Human Rights Law Centre Executive Director Hugh de Kretser says funding for the Commission has been slashed by around 30% over the next three years.

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Children from the asylum camps on Nauru protesting. Photo: supplied

The cuts follow the Commission's inquiry into children in immigration detention.

Mr de Kretser says the cuts will weaken the Commission and reduce the government's accountability on human rights at a time when rights are being threatened, in particular by harsh migration and counter-terror laws.

He says the government has a pattern of targeting cuts or pressure to advocacy agencies that have criticised them.

"There's plenty of agencies that are avoiding cuts of almost a third to their entire operation which lends weight to the conclusion that this is a politically motivated cut in response to the Commission's work around children in immigration detention. The Commission was running an inquiry this year. The report hasn't been released but it's likely to be highly critical of the government."

Human Rights Law Centre Executive Director Hugh de Kretser