Amnesty probe finds Australia breaches asylum laws
SYDNEY (REUTERS) - Rights group Amnesty International has urged Australia to review its asylum seeker policies and end offshore detention after finding "debilitating and humiliating conditions" at processing centres that breach obligations under international law.
A steady flow of refugee boats is a hot political issue in Australia, polarising voters. Prime Minister Tony Abbott's conservative Liberal-led coalition won power in September partly on the back of a tough campaign against asylum seekers.
In its report, Amnesty said 1,100 male asylum seekers now detained on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea were living in squalid 'prison-like' conditions, where one compound was reported to violate the United Nations (UN) Convention Against Torture.
Compounds on the island are known to be overcrowded with small fans shared among more than 100 men in an environment of stifling heat and overwhelming stench, Amnesty said.