RISE is extremely concerned about the discussion of the refugee trade deal that is basically human trafficking between the Australian government and non-OECD countries like Indonesia, Philippines and Malaysia with thousands of stateless and forcibly displaced people within their own borders.
Why do other countries have to bear the cost of Australia’s anti-refugee policies when Australia is a signatory to the refugee convention and has spent billions on offshore detention centres, border security as well as indefinite detention of asylum seekers and refugees on the mainland itself? Australia is also part of the military invasion of countries like Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the largest refugee source countries in the world.
Australia has psychologically and physically damaged so many refugees and asylum seekers by holding them hostage indefinitely in offshore and onshore detention centres and framing the issue of forced migration of refugees as a “problem”. If Australia calls it a “problem” why not take the responsibility for being part of the problem and resolve it in a fair and humane way?
The Refugee Trade is further evidence of Australia’s shocking abuse of people fleeing from war and persecution. Sending asylum seekers and refugees to countries like Malaysia, Indonesia or Philippines will only serve to make Australia’s notorious immigration detention system even less transparent due to geographic and bureaucratic isolation from Australia itself.
Despite there being the largest number of refugees since world war II, Australian politicians are espousing rhetoric about asylum seeker issues that is callous: Temporary protection visas, Pacific and other offshore solutions, mandatory and indefinite detention, Boat-turnbacks, and now, a continuous Refugee and Asylum seeker trade.
This is not the first time we have anti-refugee solutions proposed by various Australian governments. The former Australian Labor government proposed the “Malaysian solution” and continues to peddle it. Before that we had the “Indonesian Solution” under Kevin Rudd and then before that John Howard’s “Pacific Solution”. For those who haven’t managed to keep up-we are now up to the “Pacific Solution: Mark II” with the reopening of Nauru and Manus island asylum seeker internment camps. What does Australia and other mostly European OECD countries have in store for our community? The Final solution?
The Refugee Trade must stop! The Australian government should immediately bring on shore, all asylum seekers and refugees detained in offshore camps, release them into the community and give them access to a just and humanitarian asylum claim process rather than handballing them to less wealthy countries. We also call out to all refugee and human rights organisations in Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines to stand firmly with our community in opposing this deal and condemning Australia’s cruel and degrading treatment of refugees coming by boat to seek asylum.
Note : Treating refugees as the problem or political pawns is the REAL problem.