SPOTLIGHT: AUSTRALIA'S REFUGEE PROBLEM
While Europe's migrant crisis has made headlines over the past year, another continent's treatment of refugees has received far less scrutiny — until now. In a joint report published yesterday, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch took the Australian government to task over what they describe as the "appalling abuse" and "neglect" of refugees.
An agreement between Australia and the South Pacific island of Nauru allows migrants to be detained on the tiny island nation before they reach Australia by boat. Nauru apparently charges foreign journalists more than $6,000 for a visa so global media coverage of the topic has been weak. Last month, however, researchers from the two rights groups managed to spend 12 days there and conducted scores of interviews.
The watchdogs report that refugees on the detention facility live in crowded and suffocating vinyl tents where temperatures can reach 50 Â°C (122 Â°F). The researchers note that refugees receive minimal health care and often face abuse from locals. Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch accuse the Australian government of willfully ignoring, and even condoning, the miserable conditions in an effort to deter other refugees from trying to reach the country.
Migration is a defining issue of our time and investigating stories about refugees in depth from across the world should be a key area of media coverage.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Although the opening ceremony for the Rio Olympics is on Friday, the women's soccer competition between U.S. and New Zealand kicks off today.
- Tropical Storm Earl is expected to strengthen into a hurricane before making landfall in Belize.