Freemantle City speaks out for Refugees – 18 March 2016
The City of Fremantle reaffirms its commitment to RCOA Refugee Welcome Zone
… and …
The City of Fremantle reviews its policy to incorporate the four principles of the No Business in Abuse (NBIA) pledge, thereby excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in Australia’s offshore and onshore immigration processing system that fail to meet the NBIA pledge requirements from any future contracts, tenders or other business dealings.
Overwhelming evidence indicates severe and systemic abuse of asylum seekers’ human rights is occurring within Australia’s immigration processing system. There has been the surge of concern about the conditions in Australia’s offshore detention centres in particular as a result of the impending deportation 267 asylum seekers, focussed especially around the the fate of “Baby Asha” who doctors at the Lady Cilento Hospital in Brisbane only agreed to release on the condition that she would not be returned to Nauru.
The immigration detention system is administered in contravention of the obligations upon all business enterprises to respect fundamental human rights as set out within the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The preamble to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights calls on “every individual and every organ of society” to promote and respect human rights. This council is an important institution in our community, and takes this responsibility seriously – to lead by example in encouraging responsible business practices and the adherence to human rights standards.
- Council resolves to:
a. Reaffirm its membership of the Refugee Council of Australia’s group of “Refugee Welcome Zone” local governments.
b. Congratulate State Premiers and Territory First Ministers for their leadership in calling for Australia to allow the 267 children and their families who are seeking asylum and are due to be returned to offshore detention camps on Nauru and Manus Islands to remain in Australia.
c. Write to Premier Barnett asking him to follow the example of his interstate counterparts and to offer to welcome these children and their families to Fremantle if they are allowed to stay in Australia; and offer to support them in their settlement process through liaison with local community services to develop a strategy of how these people could be supported within the Fremantle community.
d. Write to the Prime Minister Malcom Turnbull urging him to allow the 267 people seeking asylum who face return to offshore detention camps on Nauru and Manus Islands to remain in Australia and urge his government to end the cruel and inhumane system of offshore detention by closing down these centres, bringing all asylum seekers and refugees who have been released to Australiaand immediately ceasing the practice of boat “turnbacks”.
e. Promote the “Palm Sunday Walk for Justice for Refugees” at St George’s Cathedral on Sunday 20 March and participate through the organising of a Fremantle contingent in cooperation with local refugee rights supporters.
2. It is incumbent on the City of Fremantle to consider its business relationships with companies who hold contracts in Australia’s system of mandatory detention, and the impact these companies’ activities are having on asylum seekers and refugees. In light of the recent publication of a No Business in Abuse report detailing the complicity of Broadspectrum (formerly Transfield Services) and its security sub-contractor Wilson Security in gross human rights abuses occurring within Australia’s offshore detention regime, it is particularly incumbent on the City of Fremantle to better understand its business relationships with Broadspectrum and its associated entities.
By adopting this resolution, the City of Fremantle therefore:
A. Agrees, in principle, to only support and/or contract companies, institutions and organisations that refuse to support or profit from the system of offshore detention and practices which abuse the fundamental human rights of asylum seekers. A company that is not abusive is one which:
i. Has zero tolerance for child abuse, in policy and practice;
ii. Respects people’s fundamental rights to freedom from arbitrary and indefinite detention;
iii. Does not treat people in a cruel, inhumane or degrading manner;
iv. Commits to transparency and independent monitoring to ensure these principles are upheld.
B. Commission a report mapping the City of Fremantle’s exposure to Broadspectrum and its associated entities. The report shall include:
i. A list of all current contracts and investments with Broadspectrum and Wilson Security;
ii. The possibility of future contracts and investments with Broadspectrum and Wilson Security;
iii. The possibility and legality of the City excluding Broadspectrum and Wilson Security
iv. Recommendations to council for appropriate action in relation to the above.
C. The City of Fremantle review its procurement policy to incorporate the four principles of the No Business in Abuse (NBIA) pledge, thereby excluding from future contracts, tenders or business dealings any companies involved in Australia’s offshore and onshore immigration processing system that fail to meet the NBIA pledge requirements from any future contracts, tenders or other business dealings.