government sticks it up the un

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    By Jeremy Thompson at ABC Online...
    The Federal Government has rejected calls by the United Nations to remove children from mandatory detention, saying Australia plans to continue to hold some in minimum security centres.

    But the Government has promised the UN Human Rights Council that it will relocate half the children behind razor wire to community housing by the end of next month.

    It has also refused to heed UN calls to abolish mandatory detention for asylum seekers, saying it represents "an essential element of strong border control".

    Australia has just undergone the four-year, so-called Universal Periodic Review, where it responds to recommendations made by the UN Human Rights Council.

    Among the recommendations:

    ?Australia should abolish mandatory immigration, not detain migrants other than in exceptional cases and limit this detention to six months;
    ?Australia should ensure that no children are held in detention; and
    ?Australia should ensure all irregular migrants have equal access to and protection under Australian law

    The Human Rights Law Centre says the Government's reaction to the recommendations is "a blight".

    Spokesman Ben Schokman says he is "very disappointed" the Government has rejected most of the key criticisms and recommendations.

    He said the Malaysian asylum swap deal - where 800 asylum seekers will be moved from Australian detention to Malaysia in return for 4,000 refugees - will involve children.

    "The recommendation that Australia require no children held in detention and the statement that children are being moved from mandatory detention runs counter to what we understand will happen under the Malaysian solution," Mr Schokman told ABC News Online.

    "The Government continues to defend the inhumane policy of mandatory detention of asylum seekers and refused to acknowledge it is out of step with international communities and indeed international law."

    The Government also rejected the recommendations to legislate a Human Rights Act, allow same-sex marriage and outlaw corporal punishment to discipline children.

    "While Australia has programs in place to protect children against family violence and laws against assault, it remains lawful for parents in all states and territories to use reasonable corporal punishment to discipline their children," Australia's statement of rejection reads.

    Also rejected was a call to ban the use of Tasers by Australian police, with the Government saying safeguards are in place to "ensure appropriate use".

    The Government also rejected a recommendation to compensate members of the Stolen Generation, citing the apology delivered by former prime minister Kevin Rudd in 2008.

    Dave R.
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