Special rapporteur of United Nations François Crépeau said that the politicians of Australia are inspiring xenophobic and intolerant behaviour amongst the general public and the rise of nationalist groups. After his 18-days- long first official tour, where he was tasked to report on the human rights of migrants in Australia, he reported that migrants are getting more xenophobia and hate speech directed towards them. He also expressed his support on maintaining the section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act.
Crépeau, who is a human rights expert, claims that the recent policies for migrants undertaken by the Australian government is not an acceptable example of human rights exercise and is affecting the reputation of the country to immigrants. He blames such behaviour of politicians which, according to Crépeau, leads to people in the street having the courage to direct hate speech and xenophobic behaviour at immigrants and the emergence of nationalist groups.
Crépeau’s words certainly do have some merit, especially after Pauline Hanson returned to the parliament following the federal election, which prompted several politicians including three One Nation Senators attempting to cut or stop migration to Australia. Hanson herself has called for ban on Muslim immigrants and liberal senator has called for migration into Australia to be halved.
There is an ongoing debate in Australia about the section 18C of the Racial Discrimination Act, which makes it an offence according to law to insult, offend, humiliate or intimidate based on race, colour, nationality or ethnicity of a person. Many people demand this to be retracted or remove the “offend” and “insult” parts from it. Crépeau insists the law should remain and it represents the stance of inclusive Australia and its view towards the multicultural populace it hosts. He states that despite Australia’s previous reputations of generous migration intake, the recent policies are painting the country in an unflattering light to the foreigners.
Crépeau mentions the laudable step from the government in taking the refugees from middle east, but he criticizes the punitive treatment of the migrants, stating that such treatment only erodes the human rights of the migrants. He fears that recent treatment of migrants is alarming to them and fear of visa cancellation puts them off from protesting, severely exploiting their human rights.
Crépeau reported the situation to the UN and expressed grave concern in the matter. He spoke with various related groups and organizations for his report during his trip.