Refugee suspensions turns victims into criminals

Damien Kingsbury; 13/4/10

Imagine, if you can, that you have spent the past 30 or more years in an environment of war, where your security is at best not guaranteed and at worst you and your loved ones have been regularly exposed to physical attack. Some, or many, people you have known and loved have been killed and many more bear the physical scars of war. Everyone bears its psychological scars. You are at best a political outcast and at worst vulnerable to repression, physical abuse, or worse. You or your sons or daughters flee your once loved home, seeking respite, hoping you can find safety and acceptance elsewhere. This is the situation facing Sri Lanka’s Tamils and many Afghanis, who in desperation seek refuge in one of the countries lucky enough to be able to offer it. What they find, however, is that they are treated as criminals.


Refugee obligations violated
Michelle Foster, 13/4/10
The Rudd government has turned its back on our responsibility to treat asylum seekers impartially.SINCE its election, the Rudd government had – until last week – distanced itself from the refugee policies of the Howard government and emphasised its new, more humane approach to refugee protection. One of the central themes of the new discourse, particularly from Immigration Minister Chris Evans, has been the fact that the policies of the previous government ”brought great shame on Australia”, such that ”Australia’s international reputation was tarnished by the way the previous government sought to demonise refugees for its own domestic political purposes”.

Labor refugee policy fails compassion test
It could have been different. The government and the opposition could have supported a compassionate course and worked together to reassure voters that border security is not a great problem; that numbers of boat people are small; that Australia and Indonesia are working together to speed up processing; that more than 90 per cent of Afghan asylum seekers are genuine refugees; that it takes a long while for countries to recover from civil war; that it is important to process asylum-seeking families quickly and properly; and that we are in a good economic and social position to cope with those seeking our help. Our reputation internationally would have been upheld. Is it too late to change? Sister Rosemary Kinne, Beverly Hills
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