Refugee policy: Australia continues deterrence

Refugee policy: Australia continues deterrence

Australia will continue to accommodate boat migrants on Nauru following a decision by MPs from different parties. Parliament in Canberra approved the government’s proposal on Tuesday, according to which, as part of Australia’s policy of deterrence, asylum seekers arriving by sea who actually wanted to go to Australia can instead be taken to a camp in the Pacific island state. The Labor government, which came to power in May last year, is thus sticking to an important component of the refugee policy of its predecessor governments. Home Secretary Clare O’Neil said Labor is strong on securing borders without showing weakness on humanity.

According to the press, around 70 refugees whose destination was actually Australia now live outside the camp in the Pacific island nation of Nauru. According to the government, they could soon be relocated to third countries. Asylum in Australia is excluded in terms of deterrence policy. But Canberra wants to keep the camp open for possible future arrivals. As has become known, Australia will pay a company 421 million Australian dollars (270 million euros) for the operation of the camp over the next three years. According to The Guardian newspaper, the company is a local offshoot of an American prison operator. “Our refugee policy is not only cruel, but also expensive,” criticized independent Senator David Pocock.

The conservative opposition supported the decision to extend the contract. However, the Greens and some independent MPs had called for the system to be ended immediately and for the boat migrants to be brought to Australia. They also called for a commission to be commissioned to investigate refugee policy. Since the introduction of the so-called offshore processing, the Australian authorities had brought more than 4,000 refugees to camps in Nauru and the island nation of Papua New Guinea. Some have lived there for up to ten years. Hundreds of refugees have now been resettled in third countries such as the USA, New Zealand, Cambodia and Papua New Guinea.

Iranian-born well-known former boat migrant and author Behrouz Boochani visited Parliament in Canberra on Tuesday. He had lived in a camp in Papua New Guinea for six years. In 2020 he was recognized as a refugee in New Zealand. It was “surreal” to visit Australia now after being told he would never get the chance as a boat migrant. He accused the Labor government of not having changed the tough policy. “A decade later, the tragedy continues,” Boochani said.

Source link