Call to take more refugees

Ben Doherty; 27/3/10; (2 Items)

Australia is being urged to stem the flow of boat people by accepting more refugees from south-east Asia before they risk the hazardous journey to Australia by sea. The Refugee Council of Australia has recommended the government grant an extra 1000 offshore humanitarian visas to refugees from south-east Asia each year, saying more places will reduce the incentive for people to turn to people smugglers offering dangerous, insecure passage. ”Ultimately, the best way of reducing the incidence of asylum seekers and refugees risking hazardous journeys to Australia is to focus upon understanding and tackling the causes of secondary movements and original flight,” the council said in a submission.

See: http://www.theage.com.au/national/call-to-take-more-refugees-20100326-r37i.html; Hiding away, young men wait on UN’ Ben Doherty; 27/3/10; http://www.theage.com.au/national/hiding-away-young-men-wait-on-un-20100326-r37j.html

Tamil asylum seekers still need protection
David Feith; 27/3/10
I was disturbed to read recently that the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is considering changing its international protection guidelines for Sri Lankan and Afghan asylum seekers. The Australian government, predictably, was quick to state that any change to the UNHCR guidelines would allow Australia to send Tamil and Afghan asylum seekers back to their home countries. The motivation of the Australian government is quite transparent – in an election year, the issue of asylum seekers is a potential political minefield for the government (unlike the asylum seekers, who if returned to their home countries could face literal minefields). This stems from the government trying to compete with the opposition on who could be tougher with border protection, rather than educating the Australian public as to the “push factors” behind desperate Tamils risking their lives to escape brutal suppression and atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan government.
See: http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/politics/tamil-asylum-seekers-still-need-protection-20100325-qzc4.html; 30/10/09; http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/contributors/tamils-horrific-treatment-makes-them-desperate-to-leave-20091030-ho18.html