New Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said that he was ‘concerned’ about Australia’s offshore immigration program, but the Immigration Minister Peter Dutton maintained that there would be no changes to the government’s asylum seeker policies.
United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants, Francois Crépeau, cancelled his visit to Australia. The official visit was cancelled due to concerns around access to offshore detention centres and the protection of informants under the Border Force Act.
Meanwhile, in a move understood to reflect a demilitarisation of the immigration portfolio, Mr Dutton will no longer sit on the National Security Committee, Australia’s peak security council. In response to the change, Labor’s immigration spokesman Richard Marles said that the ‘notion that the minister responsible for the integrity of our borders doesn’t form part of NSC [National Security Committee] is naive and displays an alarming lack of judgment’.
Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young announced that she would tour the country, speaking to corporate clients and shareholders of Transfield Services, the company that runs detention centre on Nauru and Manus Island. Senator Hanson-Young said that the goal of the tour is to raise awareness of the human rights abuses occurring in the detention centres.
European Union home affairs ministers met in Brussels to adopt a plan to relocate 120,000 refugees from Greece and Italy for resettlement among the EU’s 28 member states. Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Romania voted against the plan, with all four states expressing their anger at perceived bullying by Western Europe.
Later in the week, European state and government leaders attended a summit to discuss the ongoing mass migration to Europe from the Middle East. President of the European Council Donald Tusk claimed the summit a success, announcing an additional 1 billion Euros in humanitarian aid to the UNHCR and World Food Programme to support refugees in the Middle East. While the aid commitment was welcomed, refugee advocates, including Amnesty International, expressed their disappointment in the leaders’ failure to reach agreement on how to ensure safe and legal routes for refugees into Europe.
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