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UN official likens ‘racist’ Australia to ‘apartheid’ South Africa

The United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay has said there is a strong undercurrent of racism in Australia because of the country’s tough refugee policies and the treatment of Aborigines.
At the end of her six-day visit to Australia, Pillay told Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard that its policy of mandatory detention towards all asylum seekers was in breach of its international obligations, and for many years had cast a shadow over the country’s human rights record.
“I come from South Africa and lived under this, and am every way attuned to seeing racial discrimination,” Pillay said.
“There is a racial discriminatory element here which I see as rather inhumane treatment of people, judged by their differences, racial, colour or religions,” she added.
Pillay also claims that the Australian government does not do enough to support Aborigines, who make up 2 per cent of the population.
“In my discussions with Aboriginal people, I could sense the deep hurt and pain that they have suffered because of government policies that are imposed on them,” she said. (Agencies)