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2006 HREOC media release: 'Pacific Solution' still poses human rights risks

Commission Commission – General

19 September 2006

'Pacific Solution' still poses human rights risks

Last month the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) highlighted the human rights risks posed by the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill 2005.

The withdrawal of the Bill after months of public and parliamentary debate was a testament to the will of concerned people in the Australian community and the strength of a number of individual politicians.

"The recent transfer of seven Burmese asylum seekers demonstrates that the so-called 'Pacific Solution' is not dead, nor are the human rights risks attached to that policy," said Human Rights Commissioner Graeme Innes AM.

"We still have a situation where people who arrive on excised Australian territory can be taken to Nauru and left there indefinitely. We still have a situation where certain asylum-seekers will be denied access to free legal assistance and judicial review of their asylum claims. And we still have a situation where there is no independent scrutiny of the conditions of the detention in Nauru," Mr Innes said.

"Last year, the Commonwealth Government started making some welcome improvements to Australia's immigration detention system. The next step is to ensure that all asylum-seekers who arrive in Australia receive the benefit of those improvements."

HREOC's opening statement and written submission to the Senate Committee regarding the original version of the Migration Amendment (Designated Unauthorised Arrivals) Bill can be found at:

HREOC investigated the impact of immigration detention in its National Inquiry into Children in Immigration Detention. The report - A last resort? - was tabled in Parliament in May 2004 and can be found at:

Media Contact: Gail Heathwood 02 9284 9834


Last updated

January 31, 2008

, 2006