New asylum policy puts women at greater risk of violence

“The Labor government’s changes to immigration policy show a singular focus on stopping people seeking asylum in Australia and destroying the business of people smugglers. But unhappy prospects await the women and children who have fled conflict zones to seek asylum in Australia and find themselves in Papua New Guinea.

The allegations of widespread sexual abuse within the Manus Island detention centre make the government’s plan to send all new asylum seekers arriving by boat to Australia to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement even more alarming.

It now seems that the plan will not only undermine Australia’s international commitments to uphold human rights and protect civilians in conflict-affected countries, it will also betray our pledge to prevent sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated largely against women and girls, but boys and young men as well.

It may also compromise Australia’s aid programs to Papua New Guinea, which aim to eliminate violence against women and girls.”

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