The senseless cruelty of Australia’s detention policies has been internationally condemned. Criticism is frequent and unequivocal and there has been action by those at the highest levels of the law.
In February 2017, 17 of the world’s leading human rights lawyers made a submission to the International Criminal Court (accessible in full here or here). The introduction is striking …
The extensive brief – lodged by renowned professors of international criminal law and experts in war crimes, global migration and humanitarian law (coordinated through the Stanford Law School’s Human Rights Centre), urges the ICC to investigate alleged crimes against humanity committed knowingly by Australian officials and the Australian government’s private contractors.
The communiqué “finds that there is a reasonable basis to believe that public officials and corporate actors may have committed and may continue to commit the crimes against humanity of unlawful imprisonment, torture, deportation, persecution and other inhumane acts.” The authors state that the gravity of the alleged crimes is heightened due to:
- the large number of asylum seekers and refugees against whom they have been perpetrated;
- the nature and manner of commission i.e. that they include instances of severe physical and sexual violence as well as the systematic involvement of state and corporate superiors; and
- the fact that the impact extends “far beyond those detained” due to “the danger of the spread and normalization of crimes committed in this context.”
And yet, the opinions of the UN High Commissioner along with the world’s leading legal experts on crimes against humanity seem to carry the same weight with the Australian government as the screams of imprisoned abused children with no hope. Because, still the brutal treatment of vulnerable people continues.