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Don’t adopt Australian system, warn ethicists

European countries should not adopt Australia’s immigration system, with its emphasis on deterrence, warn ethicists.

Associate Professor Deborah Zion of the Centre for Cultural Diversity and Wellbeing at Victoria University and Dr John-Paul Sanggaran of the University of New South Wales recently wrote in a special issue of the Journal of Medical Ethics that the Australian system’s lack of transparency is helping perpetuate ongoing human rights abuses and what amounts to torture of asylum seekers.

This is particularly pertinent in light of the way in which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton are using the United Nations summit to encourage world leaders to look to Australia’s strict border control policies.

Professor Zion and Dr Sanggaran cite the United Nations special rapporteur on torture having found Australia to be in breach of the UN Convention Against Torture, despite having signed up in 2009 to the Optional Protocol on the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment or OPCAT.

“Europe is contending with the largest migration since the Second World War resulting from the Syrian crisis. In the strongest possible terms we counsel others against following the same path as Australia,” they say. 

“The situation in Australia is particularly important when seen in the broader context of the humanitarian crisis in Syria and never more so now that European countries, including the UK, have expressed interest in adopting Australian styled and inspired immigration policies.” 

For more information, contact Associate Professor Deborah Zion. Phone: +61 3 9919 4058 or email deborah.zion@vu.edu.au


 

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