Labor Commits To Upholding Human Rights Standards In Offshore Processing

10/11/2015 1:40 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
Fairfax/Alex Ellinghausen

CANBERRA -- Labor has passed a motion insisting the Turnbull Government to uphold human rights standards and bring in independent oversight of Australia’s offshore immigration processing centres on Papua New Guinea and Nauru.

The motion, put to Caucus by MP Melissa Parke with heavy amendments by Immigration spokesman Richard Marles, comes as the UN’s leading human rights body in Geneva heavily criticised Australia's hard line border protection policies.

More than 100 delegate nations questioned and scolded Australia’s policies over nearly four hours on Tuesday morning, including Germany which urged the immediate release of children, families and survivors of torture from detention.

Sweden also questioned why Australia was the only nation in the world to use both offshore processing and mandatory detention.

Parke’s original motion called on the Government to close the centres on Manus Island and Nauru unless they are immediately made to meet with human rights standards and are given independent oversight.

The amended version, which passed on Tuesday, holds a Labor Government to ensuring that the conditions of offshore processing meet with human rights standards and that it would negotiate with PNG and Nauru for independent oversight of these facilities.

It also calls on the Turnbull Government to do the same.

Parke has told The Huffington Post Australia she would have preferred her original motion passed, but is pleased that Labor has reaffirmed its commitment to human rights standards.

“I am looking forward to Labor holding the Government to account on these matters,” she said.

The Member for Fremantle is very concerned about the current crisis on Christmas Island, prompted by the death of an escaped Kurdish-Iranian detainee.

“This is what happens when people are given no information and no hope. They have got to expect there will be a reaction,” she told HuffPost Australia.

“(This system) is responsible for driving people mad.”

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