Australia and NZ Greens call for human rights inquiry

The Green parties of New Zealand and Australia have lodged a submission with the Australian Human Rights Commission asking it to establish an inquiry into the treatment of New Zealand citizens who are detained in immigration detention centres.

Green Party human rights spokesperson Marama Davidson has written to the Commission on behalf of the New Zealand and Australian Green Parties, saying people from both countries were deeply concerned about the human rights abuses occurring in Australian facilities and the impact these were having on innocent family members.

“Just because these people were once in trouble with the law does not mean they waive their basic human rights, and the human rights of their families, forever,” Ms Davidson said.

“The submission details some horrible human rights abuses including forcing a terminally ill woman with lung cancer to spend her last few days alone, while her husband Ra Fowell was detained for historic driving and marijuana possession offences. Mrs Fowell died two days ago.

“Detainees are being denied medical treatment, the right to family, and the right to adequate access to legal counsel, while facing arbitrary detention which is a fundamental abuse of their human rights on its own.

“The vast majority of those who are detained for historic offences are not rapists and murderers as John Key has described them.  

“Decent societies that believe in democracy uphold the basic human rights of people even if they are in prison, or once committed a crime.

“The Australian Government has set itself on a slippery slope by denying those in detention some of those fundamental rights, and the New Zealand Government has let down its citizens by failing to fight for them.

“The two Green Parties hope that the Australian Human Rights Commission will help shed some light on the treatment of Kiwis arbitrarily detained in Australian centres,” Ms Davidson said.

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