Asia - Pacific

Australia should face up to, repent for human rights abuses: China

Chinese diplomat in Geneva calls out Australia for war crimes, injustices at home, abroad

Riyaz ul Khaliq   | 09.07.2021
Australia should face up to, repent for human rights abuses: China

ANKARA 

Severely criticizing Australia for violations at home and abroad, China has urged Canberra to “face up to and repent” for its “severe” human rights problems.

The remarks came from a Chinese diplomat during the universal period review of Australia’s human rights record at the 47th session of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Chinese daily Global Times reported on Friday.

“Australia also has long-term and systematic discrimination against Africans, Asians, and other minorities and Muslims and Indigenous people. It also has serious hate crimes,” Chinese diplomat Jiang Duan said.

“It is regrettable to see Australia not take China’s suggestion … to take the universal periodic review as an opportunity to face up to and repent its own severe problems on human rights, stop various violations of human rights, and take concrete measures to protect human rights.”

He pointed out that Australia’s severe violations include its soldiers “killing innocent civilians in overseas military actions and committing severe war crimes.”

Jiang was referring to an investigation last year that found Australian special forces personnel were involved in killing at least 39 civilians in Afghanistan.

Despite the “credible information” collected against its soldiers, media reports earlier this year said the Australian military was planning to discharge them on “medical grounds.”

The Chinese diplomat also spoke about the backlash Australia has faced over setting up detention centers to “forcibly detain immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers for a long time.”

“Instead of reflecting on its own problems on human rights, out of political purpose, Australia has kept spreading disinformation and uses human rights as an excuse to interfere in other countries’ international affairs,” said Jiang.

Global watchdog Human Rights Watch (HRW) has also criticized Canberra for its “continued disregard for the rights of migrants.”

In a statement on Thursday, the group said Australia has refused to accept recommendations at the UNHRC to raise the minimum age of criminal responsibility from 10 to at least 14, end the mandatory detention of asylum seekers, and close offshore processing centers.

“Australia paints a picture of itself for the global stage that doesn’t match the reality at home,” said Sophie McNeill, Australia researcher at HRW.

“Government claims that Australia is committed to the human rights of refugees and asylum seekers are absurd so long as harmful offshore detention policies continue and people remain for years in immigration detention.”

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