PM Tony Abbott Sets Code of Conduct for Asylum Seekers; Spitting, Swearing Equals Deportation
By Reissa Su | January 31, 2014 8:24 PM EST
Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the Australian government has been accused of outlawing "everyday behaviour" following the leak of documents containing a code of conduct for asylum seekers. According to the Independent, the draft code reportedly decreed that asylum seekers who spit or swear in public and spread rumours will be deported.
(REUTERS/Sri Lankan President'
Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott (L), who is currently in Sri Lanka to attend the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) 2013, gives Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa a signed Australian Rugby Union jersey in Colombo, November 17, 2013. (REUTERS/Sri Lankan President's Office/Handout via Reuters)
In December 2013, the government revealed that asylum seekers who arrived by boat were asked to sign a code of conduct when in Australia with temporary visas.
The leaked document containing the alleged rules was reportedly drafted by the Immigration Minister Scott Morrison. Based on the code of conduct, asylum seekers will be sent back to where they came from if they "disturb someone", "irritate people" or "exclude someone from a group or place on purpose."
Asylum seekers who displayed "antisocial" behaviour will be treated as violating the "order of society." The draft code is reportedly a guide to how people should act while living in Australia.
Since Mr Abbott has assumed office in 2013, he has taken a hard-line approach to asylum seeker policy in an attempt to control the number of refugees from Indonesia to enter Australia.
The New York-based Human Rights Watch gave a scathing review of Australia for its indefinite and mandatory detention of asylum seekers. The Abbott government has been sending asylum seekers outside the country for processing and offer resettlement if found to be refugees.
The watchdog has been critical of Australia's Temporary Protection Visas for refugees and its failure to report human rights violations with neighbouring countries.
The comprehensive report on human rights covers policy decisions from around the world up to Nov. 2013. According to Human Rights Watch Australia Director Elaine Pearson, the chapter about the country stands out in a negative way.
Ms Pearson said Australia is the wealthiest nation in the region but it is sending asylum seekers to poorer countries regularly. She remarked that the Abbott government should reconsider its policies if it wants to change its global standing.
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