Weekly media wrap 20 April

At least 800 people died in the Mediterranean Sea when a boat capsized off the coast of Libya. More than 7000 people were rescued from boats in a four day period over last weekend. In response, UN special rapporteur on the human rights of migrants François Crépeau called for a global humanitarian plan to resettle refugees and regulate migrant mobility.

Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop invited Iranian officials to visit Australia to continue discussions about taking back failed asylum seekers, after being unable to reach agreement during her recent visit to Tehran.

The West Australian reported Australia is transferring almost 50 Vietnamese asylum seekers back to Vietnam from a vessel that was intercepted north of Australia earlier this month. A spokesperson for immigration minister Peter Dutton said no comment would be made on ‘operational matters’. Human rights groups have criticised the government for returning the asylum seekers Vietnam, where they may face persecution.

The ABC reported that a fact sheet about life in Cambodia was distributed to refugees in Nauru, with expectations that the first transfer of refugees between the two countries will happen next week.

The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) put forward a submission disputing a migration amendment bill to allow immigration officers to use ‘reasonable force against any person’ if the officer believed it was exercised ‘in good faith’.

In Darwin, there was a disturbance at the Wickham Point detention centre, where a spokesperson from the Darwin Asylum Seeker Support and Advocacy Network said he had been told there were 25 self-harm attempts. A spokesperson for Mr Dutton said reports from refugee advocacy groups were ‘wildly exaggerated and inaccurate’, but confirmed there had been a disturbance.

An Australian National Audit Office report has recommended that interpreters who are deployed to immigration detention centres should be given resilience training so that they can prepare for the “challenging and hazardous” conditions of the facilities.