New Report Slams Australia’s Treatment of GLBT Asylum Seekers

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A new Human Rights Watch report has slammed Australia’s treatment of GLBT asylum seekers.

A new Human Rights Watch report has heavily criticised the Australian government’s approach to dealing with asylum seekers and in particular GLBT asylum seekers.

Compiled by the Human Rights Watch and the Human Rights Law Centre, the report was put together based on several interviews with asylum seekers, immigration officials, police, hospital staff and other service providers.

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Australia currently has in place the controversial practice of offshore processing for those seeking asylum, with the detention centre located in Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

Following a law change in 2013 by then Prime Minster Kevin Rudd, those arriving in Australia by boat will have no chance of settlement in Australia, with resettlement for those whose asylum claims are approved to be made in Papua New Guinea – a country where it is a criminal offense to have consensual homosexual sex.

Speaking to Buzzfeed Australia, Elaine Pearson, Australia director at Human Rights Watch said there were significant concerns raised about the policy of resettlement of asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea.

“We did hear there were some who were refusing to move to the transit centre because they were concerned about safety issues and repercussions from the authorities,”

“They were scared they would be thrown in jail for being gay” Pearson said.

Asylum seekers are going to great measures to avoid persecution in PNG, said Pearson, with one man ripping up his documentation after being processed and opting to return to his home country instead.

“I have not come to stay in Manus, a country where it’s possible [for a gay man] to be jailed for 14 years. If I wanted to live like this I would have stayed in Iran and gone to prison, been released, and then sent to prison again,” said an anonymous asylum seeker quoted in the report.

 Article | Levi Joule.

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