It should be noted that while Australia’s policies might be among the more egregious, few Western countries have clean hands when it comes to treatment of migrants, asylum-seekers, and refugees.
The United Nations has found that Australia’s immigration detention regime breaches international law, amounting to arbitrary and indefinite detention, and that men, women and children are held in violent and dangerous conditions.
One asylum seeker was murdered by guards on Manus Island, while another died because there were no appropriate antibiotics to treat infection.
On Nauru, asylum seekers and refugees are regularly physically and sexually assaulted, and say they are frightened to complain because of a culture of impunity on the island. At least 29 cases of rape and sexual assault – including against children – have been reported to Nauru police, but there have been no arrests or charges laid.
Several arms of the UN have repeatedly condemned Australia’s offshore regime, including the UN high commissioner for human rights, the UN committee against torture, the UN special rapporteur on torture, the UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, and the UN high commissioner for refugees.