UNHCR raises alarm on separation of refugee families in Australia

UNHCR raises alarm on separation of refugee families in Australia

Tuesday, July 17, 2018 7:01 pm

United Nations

The UN Refugee Agency is concerned over the recent separation of a Sri Lankan refugee family in Australia as well as similar cases in the past resulting from the current policy on immigration, the agency said on Tuesday.

“UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is alarmed by a separation of a Sri Lankan refugee family in Sydney by the Government of Australia.

“The deportation overnight of the father leaves his Sri Lankan partner, who is a recognised refugee, alone in Australia with their 11-month-old daughter,’’ the UNHCR said in a statement.

The UNHCR said they had asked the Australian government to ensure that the man would not be deported, while private legal teams urged the Home Affairs Minister to intervene.

The UN Refugee Agency has slammed Australia’s policy of “offshore processing and deterrence,” which has resulted in separations of refugee families since 2013, according to the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN.

“UNHCR is aware of several other parents currently held under Australian ‘offshore processing’ in Nauru, whose spouses were transferred to Australia for medical reasons, including in order to give birth.

“The Government of Australia has refused to allow them to be reunited in Australia, in spite of the fact that neither Nauru nor Papua New Guinea is considered suitable places of settlement for the vast majority of refugees,’’ the statement read.

According to the UN Refugee Agency, there have been several cases of children staying in Nauru separated from parents sent to Australia for medical care.

The Australian government is sending migrants and refugees arriving by boat to offshore processing centers.

Report says Australia explains the measure by the need to counter human trafficking.

However, the practice has been criticised by human rights organisations.



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