AUSTRALIA - UN Blocked from Inspecting Detention Sites

Arno Froese

A United Nations body committed to preventing torture has terminated its review of Australian places of detention after authorities in some states refused to let them in—joining Rwanda as the only other country where a visit has been terminated.

Australia is one of 91 signatories to the agreement, which allows inspectors to make unannounced visits to all places of detention, including police stations, immigration detention centers and social care institutions. The UN and human rights groups have long criticized Australia’s treatment of detainees, particularly refugees and asylum seekers who are subject to long periods of offshore detention if they arrive in the country by boat.

In partial findings published in November, the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture (SPT) said it was concerned about the mandatory detention of people who arrive in Australia without a valid visa, including children, and that there was no maximum time for their detention.

The SPT also urged Australia to stop using physical restraints to discipline children in supervision and end the practice of solitary confinement for children.

Australia’s Human Rights Commissioner Lorraine Finlay said Australia still had a “long way to go” to meet its minimum obligations, and was at risk of being named as a country of “significant concern.”, 21 February 2023

Arno's Commentary

When it comes to freedom and human rights, particularly regarding illegal immigrants, Australia has an excellent record compared to most other countries in that part of the world. Yet Senior Australian researcher with Human Rights Watch Sofie McNeill concludes: “Failing to cooperate with UN experts in providing unrestricted access to sites of detention sets a terrible example to other governments in this region who don’t need more excuses to defy the UN.”

This subject is unpleasant, not only for Australia, but also for most countries in the world. The mistreatment of poor people seeking refuge is well documented. Even in Europe, claiming to be the most free and prosperous continent on earth, there is much evidence of negligence in implementing human dignity and compassion. showed that over 5,100 people drowned in the Mediterranean Sea in 2016, and 2,367 in 2022.

Our concern as believers lies in supporting the weak, the rejected, the hopeless. From several sources in Europe, we gather that a relatively large number of newcomers—whether from Africa, Asia, or the Middle East—make up the largest percentage of those who break through to a living faith in Jesus, thus building His Church. Let us continue to remind ourselves to pray that many of these poor and desperate people will find the liberating light of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and be added to the citizenship of heaven.

Arno Froese is the executive director of Midnight Call Ministries and editor-in-chief of the acclaimed prophetic magazines Midnight Call and News From Israel. He has authored a number of well-received books, and has sponsored many prophecy conferences in the U.S., Canada, and Israel. His extensive travels have contributed to his keen insight into Bible prophecy, as he sees it from an international perspective.

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