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Extraterritorial detention contracting in Australia & the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights
Author: Brynn O'Brien, Published on: 12 February 2018
"Extraterritorial Detention Contracting in Australia and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights," 21 April 2016
...Under the Australian Migration Act 1958, [asylum seekers entering its territory]...by boat are...subject to removal to two extraterritorial detention centres (EDCs)...[where] people...have been detained...for years with no real possibility of challenging their detention in a court of law...
These centres are run by companies to which Australia outsources its operational responsibility... Broadspectrum Limited [formerly Transfield]...is presently contracted by the Australian Government to run the EDCs... Broadspectrum makes decisions about detainee welfare, movement, communication, behaviour, accommodation, food, clothing, water, security and general conditions...
[According to No Business in Abuse (NBIA), a collective of Australian lawyers, researchers and human rights activists] Broadspectrum's involvement in operations at the EDCs is a textbook case of 'contribution to' adverse human rights impacts under UNGP 13(a)... Given the predictable nature of the abuses that have occurred, and the clear foreseeability of serious harm at the time of Broadspectrum's engagement with the extraterritorial detention regime, it seems implausible that any adequate due diligence...regarding the operation of an EDC would have failed to identify adverse human rights impacts...
The UN GPs clearly require a company engaged in an 'adverse human rights impact' to end its contribution to the abuse. NBIA's recommendations to the company, therefore, as set out in the NBIA Report, are: (1) End its operations at the EDCs; and (2) Remedy the historial abuses in which it has been complicit.
Continuing to contract for EDC work with the full knowledge that it will be required to breach its responsibility to respect human rights in its business activities is, in NBIA's assessment, simply not a tenable position... [also refers to Ferrovial]