The United Nations has slammed Australia’s decision to “actively and indefinitely separate” the family of a recognised refugee in the country by deporting her husband to Sri Lanka.
According to the United Nations refugee agency “the deportation overnight of the father leaves his Sri Lankan partner, who is a recognised refugee, alone with their 11-month-old daughter.”
UNHRC warned in a statement that this move by Australia “contravenes the basic right of family unity, as well as the fundamental principle of the best interests of the child.”
According to the organisation it had appealed to the Australian government to permit the man to remain with his family in the country, but the government didn’t budge.
Australia has been long criticised by the UNHCR for its policy of “offshore processing and deterrence”, which has seen asylum seekers who reached Australia shipped off to remote camps in Nauru and Papua New Guinea since 2013
“The government of Australia has refused to allow them to be reunited in Australia, despite the fact that neither Nauru nor Papua New Guinea are considered suitable places of settlement for the vast majority of refugees,” it said.
It also informed that it knew about families being separated when a parent of a partner was transferred from Nauru to Australia for medical reasons, including to give birth.
UNHCR has warned Australia that with the latest deportation it has gone “beyond a refusal to reunite families to instead actively and indefinitely separate them.”
The organisation has also pointed out that Australian legislature prevents the mother in the case from ever sponsoring her spouse to join her and their child in Australia as the law prevents her husband ever being granted even a short-term visa to visit his family.