Media release

Mercer PR ruling a warning to companies linked to refugee policy

Commenting on the Australian National Contact Point’s Final Statement against Mercer PR for its conduct in relation to activity in Nauru, Dhakshayini Sooriyakumaran, Director of Human Rights at the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) said:

“This decision should serve as a caution to companies which carry out asylum seeker incarceration and deportation services as contractors to the Australian government.

“This is a system absolutely rife with abuse and there is no practical way for companies involved in it to avoid being linked to serious human rights violations.

“This includes Qantas and Virgin who engage in involuntary transportation of people whose human rights have been denied, as well as Paladin and Serco, who profit from the provision of detention and security services. These activities clearly fall foul of the human rights chapter of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

“Australia’s toxic asylum seeker and refugee policy has become world famous for its brutality, and all business activities connected with it are tainted.

“Qantas and Virgin have also committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights, which means that they accept their responsibility to respect the internationally recognised human rights of those affected by their activities. Such obvious failure to conform with this commitment should raise serious concerns for their shareholders. Link to OECD guidelines: