Transfield defends new human rights policy

Transfield Services Chief Executive Operations Kate Munnings during the Senate inquiry (AAP) Source: AAP

The operator of offshore immigration detention centres says it has been honouring human rights prior to implementing an official policy a week ago.

The company operating offshore immigration centres denies its decision to develop a human rights policy is connected to its bid to bid for the contract to run detention centres on Nauru and Manus Island.

Transfield Service's $1.2 billion contract expires in October and the new tender process has greater emphasis on human rights.

Senior executive Kate Munnings has told a Senate committee investigating asylum-seeker abuse claims the new policy has been in place for a week but denied the tender was the key motivation behind its implementation.

In previous evidence, Transfield revealed it had received 67 allegations of child abuse at the centre, 30 of which were against staff at the facility.

The company says 33 asylum seekers claim to have been raped or sexually assaulted.

In its submission to the inquiry, Transfield says it "expects and demands high standards of professionalism and integrity from all its staff".

Under a whistleblower section of its submission, the company says: "We encourage our employees to raise concerns about any known or suspected unlawful or inappropriate conduction within the organisation."

The Immigration Department's submission notes the operating environment on Nauru seeks to ensure every individual is treated with "dignity, equality, respect and fairness".

The department is committed to working with the Nauruan government to ensure asylum seekers on Nauru are in a safe and secure environment, it says.

"All individuals on Nauru are bound by Nauruan law," the submission says.

"In addition, employees must demonstrate the values of integrity, honesty and fairness in their decisions, actions and behaviour."

Regional processing arrangements were an important aspect of the Australian government's border policies, it says.

Source AAP

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