Our human rights rating undermined by refugee treatment

AUSTRALIA'S reputation on human rights is being eroded by its "harsh" treatment of refugees and asylum seekers, a global report has claimed.

The Human Rights World Report for 2015, released Thursday said the nation was also lacking in protections for indigenous Australians and those with disabilities.

It reported that despite a "solid record" on protecting civil and political rights, the Federal government's "failure to respect international standards" on protecting asylum seekers was undermining its ability to call for other nations to protect human rights.

The report follows a High Court decision on 156 Sri Lankan asylum seekers who were held at sea for a month last year, with the court ruling the government's actions were legal.

However, the court was split in its decision, with three of seven justices against the decision and raising concerns in the full judgment that such actions could breach Australia's international obligations.

The Human Rights Watch report also said recent national security legislation would "infringe on freedoms of expression and movement" and the government has "done too little" to address indigenous rights and the rights of people with disabilities.


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