Weekly media wrap - 1 December

The Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen wrote to an opposition party politician defending Cambodia’s ability to host and protect refugees. However, a group of Cambodian NGOs expressed ‘deep concern’ about the deal, and the ‘shroud of secrecy’ surrounding it. Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young also wrote about her concerns with the deal, after travelling to Cambodia to assess the conditions that refugees will face there.

The Federal Court of Australia reserved its decision about the right of children born in Australian detention centres to seek refugee visas. Labor and the Greens expressed opposition to a decision by the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee to recommend that the Resolving the asylum seeker caseload bill be passed. The bill also came under pressure from Senate crossbenchers who want the legislation to include a pathway to permanent resettlement of refugees and reunion with immediate family members.

The UN Committee Against Torture released a report criticising elements of Australia’s asylum seeker policies, including the policies of turning back boats carrying asylum seekers and mandatory detention of children on Nauru and Manus Island.

The Guardian reported a female asylum seeker was allegedly impregnated when she was raped in detention on Nauru.  This follows stories of the rape of homosexual asylum seeker men who are scared of being jailed for their sexuality.  

A group of high profile Australians recorded a song calling for an end to child detention.

Asylum seekers on Manus Island wrote to the United States and Canada requesting for resettlement to these countries.

In international news, President Obama announced sweeping reforms to the United States’ immigration policy that will ease the threat of deportation for 4.7 million undocumented immigrants. However, the President’s unprecedented exercise of executive authority is likely to face fierce opposition from the Republican party.