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Thursday, May 26, 2011

'Racist' Australia compared to Apartheid South Africa by UN Human Rights commissioner - 25th May 2011

The United Nations' top human rights watchdog has attacked Australia's tough refugee policies and the treatment of outback Aborigines, saying there was a strong undercurrent of racism in the country.

According to UN Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay, long-standing policies of locking up asylum seekers had 'cast a shadow over Australia's human rights record', and appeared to be completely arbitrary.

'I come from South Africa and lived under this, and am every way attuned to seeing racial discrimination,' she said.

The 69-year-old is a former anti-apartheid campaigner and international criminal court judge, and she was speaking to reporters at the end of a six-day visit.

'There is a racial discriminatory element here which I see as rather inhumane treatment of people, judged by their differences, racial, colour or religions,' she said yesterday.

Before she left Pillay held talks with Prime Minister Julia Gillard and expressed deep concern about the minority Labor government's latest plan to send hundreds of asylum seekers to Malaysia for refugee processing, hoping to appease voter concern about asylum seekers arriving by boat. Read More