In the past few years since refugees started moving across regions of Europe and Pacific to live a better life running from war fronts, Australia was a major choice. However, Australia has deported many refugees and asylum seekers, while sending them to an island state of Nauru that is 21 square km in size. There are almost a 1,000 asylum seekers and refugees living there under worst possible conditions, while Ferrovial ramps up millions in earnings and profits through a company Broadspectrum, they bought in April 2016 to manage infrastructure development, and document management services, on behalf of the government of Australia.
Amnesty International’s Researcher on Business and Human Rights, Lucy Graham highlighted these conditions citing that Amnesty International has been asking for an overhaul of the system since Manus Island in pap New Guinea was visited in 2012 and 2013. Much of the atrocities faced by refugees and asylum seekers in Nauru are already known by employees, and sub-contractors of Broadspectrum, who are themselves complacent in this systematic human rights violation that the government of Australia is committing. Graham said, “The Australian government has created an island of despair for refugees and people seeking asylum on Nauru, but an island of profit for companies making millions of dollars from a system so deliberately and inherently cruel and abusive it amounts to torture. By knowingly enabling the continuation of this system, which is specifically designed to cause suffering and deter people from traveling to Australia by boat to seek asylum, Broadspectrum and Ferrovial are unequivocally complicit in this abuse.”
Broadspectrum’s overall contract earns them AUD$2.5 billion, but their contract ends in October 2017. Ferrovial has no intentions for bidding for a renewal, while it has asked Amnesty International to provide support and advice on how the conditions at Nauru can be made better for the population living there. However, Ferrovial ha also said that “Broadspectrum has repeatedly called on Amnesty International to make specific suggestions to improve living conditions, however, Amnesty International has failed to respond.”
Nevertheless, Amnesty has already asked the government of Australia to let these small number of refugees to come in and be part of a peaceful society, rather than keeping them under stressful conditions at remote islands. As per Graham, “It’s a clinical, cold-blooded set-up where the Australian authorities set the blueprint for cruelty, and the companies do the dirty work.”