ASYLUM SEEKER RESOURCE CENTRE
MEDIA RELEASE embargoed until 2pm 5/11/2014
BEYOND THE BOATS REPORT welcome except for Recommendation Six.
The ASRC is heartened by the Beyond the Boats report released today. Eight of the nine recommendations are designed to bring Australia’s Refugee policy back in line with values of which we can be proud. The ASRC congratulates this cross party, cross sector expert panel for this report.
“Many Australians are deeply uncomfortable with the view that we have become a mean-spirited and cruel nation to people seeking our protection. Our current policies have divided the nation in a way those of us who witnessed the birth of multiculturalism never thought was possible”, says Pamela Curr, refugee advocate of the ASRC.
These recommendations on managing the arrival of people and treating them fairly and justly as well are very welcome. Calling for an end to Mandatory Detention after health and security checks have been done is sensible policy and long overdue. The recommendation to foster a new national conversation about asylum seekers is desperately needed in a climate of poisonous fear mongering.
The ASRC notes that the report calls for an “urgent resolution of the status of asylum seekers already transferred to PNG and Nauru. Of concern is detail in Recommendation Six which does not address the current crisis conditions on Nauru and Manus. The two thousand men, women and children on Nauru and Manus are in grave danger. None of the men found to be refugees on Manus has been released or resettled as promised because their safety in a hostile PNG cannot be guaranteed. The PNG government has been put under pressure by the Australian Government but to their credit have resisted placing these men in life threatening situations in the community. Two deaths while in the detention camp have illustrated the lack of safety for refugees in PNG.
Meanwhile on Nauru, released refugees face grave danger in the community. Four unaccompanied minors have been brutally bashed by locals without reason other than that locals call them “fuxxing refugees”. They are now under siege in their huts afraid to go out to school or shops. Another man has been stoned and beaten this past weekend, because he has taken a job. A refugee, who was employment as a cashier, has been told that she will be killed if she does not surrender her job. Conditions in the Camp for babies and children are below any standard of which Australia can be proud.
The two hundred plus men women and children released as refugees on Nauru have become a persecuted minority, fearful of violence from the hostile majority of local Nauruan’s on the basis of their ethnicity and religion. In terms of the Refugee Convention they have themselves become refugees in a place to which Australia has transported them to against their will.
The offshore dumping of Refugees in impoverished Pacific communities has become an irretrievable disaster necessitating urgent action by Australia. No new direction in refugee policy can be complete without a change to the current offshore policy which has been an unmitigated disaster to both the refugees and to their unwilling hosts in the communities of the Pacific Islands.
Contact Pamela Curr 0417517075
Refugee and Detention Rights Advocate
Asylum Seeker Resource Centre
Please note our new address details:
214 – 218 Nicholson St
Footscray Vic 3011
T: 03 9326 6066
M: 0417 517 075
F: 03 9689 1063
ASRC is on the land of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation