Australian paper calls for new refugee policy

A leading Australian newspaper, The Age, has published an editorial calling for an end to Canberra's current refugee policies.

The policies of turning back boats and processing asylum seekers abroad has for years enjoyed the support of both the ruling coalition and the opposition Labor Party.

The Age says asylum seekers have not broken any laws, but the government continues to use the most despicable tactics to deter them, which it says has brought Australia into disrepute around the world.

It says it is time to call an amnesty, to end the imprisonment of people who arrived seeking help and to recognise that jailing people in detention facilities for years on end is the most inhumane thing that could be done.

The editorial says detaining asylum seekers on Nauru or Papua New Guinea's Manus Island defies common sense, is costly as well as a corruption of Australia's vows to pursue humanitarian principles.

Australia is holding hundreds of asylum seekers and refugees in off-shore camps while negotiating with Asian countries to settle them.

Cambodia has accepted five people under a deal that reportedly cost 40 million US dollars.

Australia's Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, has said people held in offshore detention will never be resettled in Australia.

Australia has brushed off criticism of its policies by international bodies, with a former prime minister, Tony Abbott, saying Australians were sick of being lectured to by the UN.


Radio New Zealand International