Weekly media wrap - 16 March

A report released by the UN Special Rapporteur, Juan Mendez, has found Australia was violating the international Convention Against Torture by detaining children in immigration detention. Prime Minister Tony Abbott accused the UN Human Rights Council of blind acceptance of the Special Rapporteur’s findings, and of insufficient consultation with the Australian Government.

In response to Australia’s representations on behalf of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukamaran, Indonesia has threatened to reduce its efforts to prevent asylum seekers leaving for Australia. Meanwhile, new research claims that Australia’s asylum policy is damaging its relationship with Indonesia and other transit countries. Five wooden boats recently purchased by the Australian government (to replace existing ‘orange lifeboats’) has raised new legal challenges to the forcible return policy.

The forced transfer of a Tamil asylum seeker from Melbourne to Darwin was stopped as a result of passengers’ protests. Three men have been charged with assault on an asylum seeker at Yongah Hill, WA, a facility housing a mix of asylum seekers and convicted criminals.

Thousands of unopened letters intended for offshore asylum seekers, containing self-address stamped envelopes and writing paper were returned to Julian Burnside.

The UN wrote to the EU asking it to increase its search and rescue activities in the Mediterranean Sea, in part to replace the Italian Mare Nostrum operation

A website – Generation in Crisis – was launched to raise the profile of the plight of young Syrian asylum seekers in Jordanian refugee camps.