In this 2014 image, asylum seekers stare at media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea.
In this 2014 image, asylum seekers stare at media from behind a fence at the Manus Island detention centre, Papua New Guinea. EOIN BLACKWELL

Amnesty warns companies on 'islands of despair'

A NEW Amnesty International report says the Australian government has created islands of despair for asylum seekers where Spanish multinational Ferrovial and its Australian subsidiary Broadspectrum are making millions of dollars from a system so "deliberately and inherently cruel and abusive it amounts to torture”.

With Broadspectrum's $2.5 billion, three-year contract with the Australian government ending in October, Amnesty is warning other firms against seeking to profit from torture.

"Any company considering taking up this toxic baton will be complicit in an intentionally abusive system, in direct contravention of its human rights responsibilities, and will be exposing itself to potential criminal liability and damages claims,” spokeswoman Lucy Graham said.

Amnesty's latest briefing, "Treasure I$land”, details how the part of Broadspectrum's business that runs its operations on Nauru and Manus Island contributed $1.6 billion in the 2016 financial year - 45% of the company's total operating revenues.

"It's a clinical, cold- blooded set-up where the Australian authorities set the blueprint for cruelty, and the companies do the dirty work ... we believe it is clear that these companies are motivated by sheer greed,” Ms Graham said.



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