MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The practice of detaining migrant children and women in offshore facilities is unacceptable, Australia’s Liberal Party backbencher told local media on Monday.
The Australian government maintains a so-called turn-back policy deterring asylum seekers access to the country and housing them in detention facilities in Nauru, Manus Island, Papua New Guinea and Christmas Island.
“Women and children in detention, behind razor wire in this country or locked away on an island, is unacceptable,” Russell Broadbent said in an interview with ABC Radio.
The Melbourne Royal Children’s Hospital of nearly 1,000 doctors, nurses and staff called over the weekend for an end of Australia’s policy settling asylum seekers in nearby islands, contending that detention centers are “not safe for children.”
On Sunday, Immigration Minister Peter Dutton said he would not support a change in official policy after Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull expressed concern about asylum seekers being detained indefinitely in camps.
A recent International Detention Coalition report revealed that Canberra spends $2.3 billion annually on these detention centers, double that of Europe or the United States. An Australian Senate Committee report last month stated that conditions and circumstances at the Nauru processing center were inadequate and unsafe.
Rights groups have sharply criticized the remote detention camps for inhumane living conditions, sexual abuse and cases of self-inflicted harm and hunger strikes staged by refugees.
Additional local media reports claimed a Somali refugee who had been raped on Nauru was transferred on Monday to Australia to undergo an abortion after appealing with Turnbull.