5 Feb 2015

Human Rights Watch questions Australia's commitment

2:51 pm on 5 February 2015

Human Rights Watch says Australia's failure to respect international standards for asylum seekers and refugees is undermining its ability to call for stronger human rights protections abroad.

Bunk beds at the Manus Island asylum seeker detention centre, Papua New Guinea

Human Rights Watch says Australia's asylum seeker policies, such as the Manus Island detention centre (pictured), undermines its human rights record. Photo: AFP

Its 2015 World Report has also raised concerns that excessive counter terrorism measures will infringe on the freedoms of expression and movement of Australian citizens.

Human Rights Watch's Australia director, Elaine Pearson, says that for a country with such a solid record of protecting civil and political rights in the past, Australia should know better.

"There clearly, you know, remains significant problems in terms of how asylum seekers and refugees are treated. Also in terms of how Asylum seekers and refugees are treated. Also in terms of the indigenous population, discrimination and over representation of indigenous communities in prisons in Australia. So there is certainly some serious problems there that the Australian government could be doing a better job of tackling."

HRW Australia Director Elaine Pearson