Weekly media wrap - 2 March

The Abbott Government continues to defend its criticism of Professor Gillian Triggs. Described by some as an 'attack', the Government accused Triggs, the President of the Human Rights Commission which produced The Forgotten Children report into children in detention, of harbouring political bias due to the timing of the report. The advocacy group Grandmothers Against Detention of Refugee Children rallied in Melbourne in support of Professor Triggs.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton confirmed that the Bladin Alternative Place of Detention in Darwin will close in April 2015. The Coalition Government has attributed the closure to its ability to stop the arrival of asylum seeker carrying boats and the success of Operation Sovereign Borders.

According to reports in The Guardian, the trial of the two men accused of murdering asylum seeker Reza Barati in a riot on Manus Island on 17 February 2014 will soon begin. Asylum seekers on Manus Island have been asked to give evidence and are reportedly nervous about their safety if they testify.

Amnesty International has called on Australia to do more to help the millions of refugees fleeing violence in Syria and Afghanistan, including increasing Australia’s humanitarian intake. Amnesty also released its annual report in which it condemned the Australian Government for its offshore processing policies and the continuing detention.

 Meanwhile, the Obama administration is pushing to increase the number of Syrian refugees settled in the United States, but is facing resistance from Republicans concerned about security screening of refugees.