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12 Feb 2017

Jamie Smyth, Financial Times

Human rights lawyers petition Intl. Criminal Court to investigate Australia & companies over alleged abuses in offshore detention centres

"Lawyers urge ICC to probe Australia over refugee abuse claims", 13 Feb 2017

A coalition of human rights lawyers is petitioning the International Criminal Court to investigate alleged crimes against humanity perpetrated by Australian officials and private contractors on refugees held on remote South Pacific islands. [The coalition is] urging accountability for the system of privatised offshore detention set up on Nauru and Manus Island, which has led to thousands of allegations of physical and sexual abuse and several deaths...The...submission...argues legal action is critical to prevent other countries — such as the US and Denmark — from implementing Australian-style offshore detention schemes in a bid to deter asylum seekers from seeking international protection amid a global refugee crisis...If the ICC decides to investigate the offshore detention regime and determines that a case against Australian officials and private contractors is merited, that would open the way for politicians and officials who established and oversaw the system and corporate executives to face criminal litigation...Spanish infrastructure company Ferrovial and Wilson Security are contractors at the camps.  In statements to the FT both companies confirmed they would not provide services beyond October 2017 when their current contracts expire.  Ferrovial said its Australian subsidiary operated with “a strict code of business conduct”...