Australia's treatment of refugees and Aboriginal people has received scathing criticism in a report by human rights organisation Amnesty International.
In its annual review of global human rights violations, released yesterday, Amnesty singled out Australia for the mandatory and indefinite detention of asylum-seekers and for continuing to "violate the rights" of its indigenous people.
Aborigines, it said, were being driven off traditional lands because of insufficient funding for housing and essential services such as water and sanitation.
Australians should realise "the first peoples of Australia are being treated in an appalling manner", said national director, Claire Mallinson.
She said she visited the Northern Territory community of Utopia last year with the organisation's secretary-general, Salil Shetty.
"He was visibly shocked by what he saw. People in Australia living without water, without toilets, without showers."
Some had no electricity or garbage collection.
The report said Aboriginal people were being "effectively forced to abandon traditional homelands to access essential services".
It was also critical of legislation, soon to be debated in the Senate, which will extend the Northern Territory intervention for another decade.
The legislation - which stipulates jail terms for alcohol possession and welfare payment cuts if children fail to attend school - evoked the assimilation era in Australia, Mallinson said.
"If passed, we will see another 10 years of policies that stigmatise people, that don't meet people's needs and are not proven to be effective."
On the refugee issue, Amnesty highlighted the rates of suicide and self-harm in detention centres. It also lambasted the Government's failed "Malaysia solution", which would have seen Australia send asylum-seekers to Malaysia in exchange for resettling refugees processed there.
The group's national refugee co-ordinator, Graham Thom, called the plan - abandoned after it was thrown out by the High Court - "a direct breach of our international obligations". Australia received less than 3 per cent of total asylum claims made in the West last year.
"Australia must not outsource its responsibilities - not to Malaysia, not to Nauru, not to Papua New Guinea," Mallinson said.