Australian detention centre operator renews controversial off-shore contract

GMT 09:28 2015 Monday ,31 August

Arab Today, arab today Australian detention centre operator renews controversial off-shore contract

Australian Stock Exchange
Sydney - XINHUA

Australian contractor Transfield Services' has extended its contract to run the Nauru and Manus Island offshore detention centers for another five years.

In a statement to the Australian Stock Exchange on Monday, the detention center operator said it had been chosen as the preferred tenderer to operate the Australian federal government's controversial offshore detention centers.

Transfield took over the Manus Island detention center in February 2014 and Australia's Nauru detention center in 2013.

The announcement comes after Australia's sixth largest retirement savings fund announced it would withdraw its 3.5 percent stake in the publicly listed company due to its operation of the detention centers, saying a number of independent organizations have found that indefinite detention breaches principles of human rights laws.

Australia's Nauru and Manus Island, in Papua New Guinea (PNG), detention centers, operated by Transfield and security contractor Wilson Security, have come under considerable controversy over the past years, following allegations of child sexual abuse, rape and torture of asylum-seeker detainees.

An Australian parliamentary inquiry is expected to hand down its report on allegations guards for Wilson Security, who also operate Australia's offshore processing centers, at the Nauru detention center water boarded detainees.

It has also been alleged that Wilson security guards at the Manus Island detention center sexually assaulted a local woman before being removed from Papua New Guinea to the ire of local authorities.

Wilson Security denies both allegations.

Australian authorities denied they are protecting the men from potential prosecution.

Transfield Services on Thursday insisted however it is "making a positive difference" to asylum seekers despite the widespread reports of rapes and assaults at the centers it operates, putting an "enhanced focus" on reducing its social and governance risk.

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