AMNESTY GROUP RAPS AUSTRALIA’S "PACIFIC SOLUTION"

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WELLINGTON, New Zealand (RNZI, April 29) - Amnesty International
has criticised Australia’s policy against asylum seekers at a regional
conference on people-smuggling on the Indonesian island of Bali.

Australia runs detention centres in Nauru and Papua New Guinea
under what it calls its "Pacific Solution" to unwelcome asylum
seekers. But Amnesty International says Australia’s approach threatens the
principle of international solidarity on which international refugee protection
depends.

Amnesty says states are duty bound under international law to
protect those seeking asylum irrespective of whether people have been smuggled
or made their own way to a country to seek asylum.

Amnesty says the Australian policy of operating offshore centers
creates two classes of asylum states.

They are the rich and the powerful states that select whom they
will accept as refugees, and the rest who are compelled to host large numbers,
including people returned from the rich countries.

April 29, 2003

Radio New Zealand International: www.rnzi.com 

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