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UN human rights chief Navi Pillay to call for review of PNG asylum seeker processing

Thursday 6 March 2014, by siawi3


GENEVA, 05 MARCH 2014 (SMH) --- The United Nations high commissioner for human rights will call on Australia to review its treatment of asylum seekers and its agreement with Papua New Guinea after last month’s violence on Manus Island.

In an opening address to be delivered at the Human Rights Council 25th Session in Geneva on Thursday, Navi Pillay will say that the violence on Manus Island underscores the need to review the resettlement arrangements signed by Australia with Papua New Guinea and Nauru.
“’To ensure that the human rights of migrants and asylum seekers are fully protected in accordance with international law,’” she will say.

In her speech, Dr Pillay will also reinforce the commission’s commitment to protect human rights, particularly in Sri Lanka and after many boat tragedies off the coasts of Greece, Italy, Malta, and Spain.
“’I call on the authorities to strengthen systems to protect against such events,”’ Dr Pillay will say.
“Today the task of protecting and promoting human rights is as vital as it was 20 years ago.”’

The speech comes as Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young will push for a Senate inquiry into the Manus Island riot that saw one asylum seeker killed and scores of others injured.

Human rights groups said it was a ’’serious concern’’ that Australia’s asylum seeker policy was being mentioned in the same breath as countries with serious human rights abuse records such as Ukraine, Syria, North Korea and Sri Lanka.
“The High Commissioner emphasises what successive Australian governments have ignored. Refugees have rights, irrespective of the mode of transport they use to seek protection," said Daniel Webb, the Human Rights Law Centre’s director of legal advocacy...PACNEWS