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Today China’s vice-minister of foreign affairs, Li Baodong, said he was concerned about the ”very important issue” of the treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, especially children, who arrive in Australia by boat.
Indeed, we have proposed this question very candidly and also stated our concerns. We also asked if these refugees will be illegally repatriated to other countries.
So too is former Liberal Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser following the riots on Manus Island.
Offshore processing should be just put aside and they should be shut. I think quite clearly excessive force has been used. When you contract out the management of this kind of centre to private enterprise companies those companies naturally attract people who are pretty ruthless … the government has very little control over what’s happened.
The idea of saying that people are going to be resettled in Papua New Guinea where there is a great deal of violence, a good deal of mismanagement, a good deal of corruption and a great deal of difficulty has been chosen quite deliberately as a deterrent. I think PNG doesn’t realise the insult that has been done to it by putting it in that position. Australia has been trying to shove responsibility onto other people for a long while now.
Similarly, opposition within Papua New Guinea is mounting with Manus Island police commander Alex N’Drasal calling on the Abbott government to quickly address asylum seekers’ concerns. N’Drasal told PNG media that treatment of asylum seekers is poor and the Australian government should hire detention centre staff with better experience, such as ”those who have worked in refugee camps”.
The Australian government should change its approach and act quickly on the petition which was handed to the authority last week by the transferees … These asylum seekers are educated people and should be treated like one (sic.)
Iran’s Foreign Ministry summoned the Australian ambassador to demand changes to the treatment of asylum seekers after the death of a 23-year-old Iranian national in the Manus Island riots.
Not surprisingly, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison says he won’t be distracted by the mounting international criticism.
I know Australia fulfills its obligations under its treaties and conventions and we conduct ourselves consistent with our own laws.
In response to pig-headed Morrison’s refusal to comment, former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser (from the same political party as our current bigoted government) went on to state:
The government’s commitment to secrecy should be a concern for everyone. Secrecy is completely inadequate for democracy but totally appropriate for tyranny. If the minister will not inform the public, then we are within our right to assume the worst. No free and fair nation operates with secrecy as a blanket policy position. Democracies are based on the foundation of public scrutiny and open government.
In the meantime, opposition is mounting in PNG to the use of foreign workers on Manus Island instead of skilled Papuans with Manus MP Ronny Knight speaking to PNG media:
Some contractors recruited and employed skilled labour – the locals. These people are qualified clerks, IT technicians and tradesmen. They are relegated to cutting grass, filling water coolers and washing dishes and minimal jobs. It seems they are employed only just to show that they are given equal opportunities when in fact it’s a farce.