19 November 2015

Burma free, now Australia is the pariah

| Charlotte
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stock image - behind wire fence

For years we shook our heads at human rights abuses in Burma and offered our support to the campaign for democracy there led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Today, she is celebrating as her National League for Democracy Party takes charge after a landslide election win.

Meanwhile, here in Australia, we’ve become the international pariah. The UN Human Rights Council took 300 recommendations from 110 countries on Australia’s human rights record as part of its quadrennial universal periodic review overnight, The Guardian reports.

When even North Korea is critical of Australia for breaches of human rights, it’s time for our government and opposition leaders to makes some changes in the way we treat asylum seekers and Indigenous Australians.

This is the official North Korean view on our record: “We still have serious concerns at the continued reports of … violence against refugees and asylum seekers and violation of the human rights of Indigenous peoples in Australia.”

Britain was among those critical of our policies, stating: “We encourage Australia to ensure the humane treatment and respect of asylum seekers including those processed offshore in PNG and Nauru … [Australia should] closely monitor the processing of asylum seekers and refugees in offshore processing centres to ensure their human rights are respected.”

Indonesia called on Australia to “ensure that the issues of refugees and asylum seekers are addressed in line with the principles of the Bali process and Australia’s other human rights obligations”.

India said we should review our mandatory detention policies and ensure refugees are never sent back to face persecution in the countries from which they have fled, The Guardian reported.

And Turkey urged us to immediately cease transferring asylum seekers to third countries.

Those are just 5 of the 300 recommendations from 110 countries.

They are the reason I’m calling on Malcolm Turnbull to take steps to end the concentration camp-style offshore detention of asylum seekers before even more lives are destroyed.

They’re also why I’m urging Opposition Leader Bill Shorten to take a stand on this issue and commit to improving our human rights record if he wins Government at the next election.

And finally, they’re the reason I’m encouraging you to write to your local MP and to Turnbull and Shorten to ask them to act on this issue.

Have a heart, Australia. These people we’ve locked up are human beings, just like you and me. What we’re doing to them is a disgrace.

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HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

No, Australia needs a leader.

Like we have now? You have to be joking.

Turnbull is better than Abbott, who was a complete ‘minable’, to use the French term that fits him best.
Turnbull is still no Churchill, although I was *very* interested to see him accusing Islamic fundamentalists of “blasphemy” against their own religion. Let’s see where he goes with that…..

That would be tantamount to the IRA using “in the name of the Father”.

rosscoact said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

No, Australia needs a leader.

Like we have now? You have to be joking.

Turnbull is better than Abbott, who was a complete ‘minable’, to use the French term that fits him best.
Turnbull is still no Churchill, although I was *very* interested to see him accusing Islamic fundamentalists of “blasphemy” against their own religion. Let’s see where he goes with that…..

Abbott is a knee-jerk puppet who did whatever IS wanted him to do. When they said jump, he said how high? Unthinking knee-jerk reactions defined the previous government and it is precisely what the world does not need now.

Examples of what you claim please or is it the same as when everyone was calling him a misogynist but no proof of this was ever offered.

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

No, Australia needs a leader.

Like we have now? You have to be joking.

Turnbull is better than Abbott, who was a complete ‘minable’, to use the French term that fits him best.
Turnbull is still no Churchill, although I was *very* interested to see him accusing Islamic fundamentalists of “blasphemy” against their own religion. Let’s see where he goes with that…..

Abbott is a knee-jerk puppet who did whatever IS wanted him to do. When they said jump, he said how high? Unthinking knee-jerk reactions defined the previous government and it is precisely what the world does not need now.

dungfungus said :

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

No, Australia needs a leader.

Like we have now? You have to be joking.

Turnbull is better than Abbott, who was a complete ‘minable’, to use the French term that fits him best.
Turnbull is still no Churchill, although I was *very* interested to see him accusing Islamic fundamentalists of “blasphemy” against their own religion. Let’s see where he goes with that…..

HenryBG said :

dungfungus said :

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

No, Australia needs a leader.

Like we have now? You have to be joking.

dungfungus said :

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

No, Australia needs a leader.

HenryBG said :

HenryBG said :

rubaiyat said :

France’s refugee intake: 210,207

Australia’s refugee intake: 23,434

Over 3x our intake rate per head of population.

…Some of us actual research rather than make it up.

I think it is very important for you to read the information provided here:
http://www.resettlement.eu/country/france

Start of annual quota: 2008

Current quota: 100 dossier cases per year
Resettlement numbers
Year Total arrivals
2014

117
2013

107
2012

90
2011

55
2010

203
2009

159

There are two main points to take home from this –
1. France has only been participating with the UNHCR refugee resettlement program since 2008, contrst that with Australia’s long-standing comittment to this program.
2. France resettles 100-200 refugees per yaer. Never mind per capita values, this is at best 1/100th of the amount of resettling of refugees that Australia does.

What continues to confuse me is that this information is hardly secret, and yet people insist on maintaining a belief that somehow Australia is not pulling its weight, when in fact we are world-leading.

…and now France has closed its borders completely, wishing they had followed Australia’s lead and done so 3 months ago, before ISIS sent hundreds of terrorists into Europe posing as “refugees”…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34814203

France urgently needs another Charles De Gaulle.
The USA needs another Douglas Macarthur.
The UK needs another Winston Churchill.
Australia needs Tony Abbott back.

justin heywood2:10 pm 14 Nov 15

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

By using mainstream media for information, your argument lowers itself to the same standard as me, where unfounded accusations fly left, right and center.

I confess that I too use ‘mainstream media’ for my information, having found ‘agenda based’ news to often have…well an agenda other than reporting the full story.

Why hint at greater knowledge Michelle, but refrain to discuss it further? Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of posting here?

(if your purpose was increasing awareness of the plight of refugees, that is).

HenryBG said :

rubaiyat said :

France’s refugee intake: 210,207

Australia’s refugee intake: 23,434

Over 3x our intake rate per head of population.

…Some of us actual research rather than make it up.

I think it is very important for you to read the information provided here:
http://www.resettlement.eu/country/france

Start of annual quota: 2008

Current quota: 100 dossier cases per year
Resettlement numbers
Year Total arrivals
2014

117
2013

107
2012

90
2011

55
2010

203
2009

159

There are two main points to take home from this –
1. France has only been participating with the UNHCR refugee resettlement program since 2008, contrst that with Australia’s long-standing comittment to this program.
2. France resettles 100-200 refugees per yaer. Never mind per capita values, this is at best 1/100th of the amount of resettling of refugees that Australia does.

What continues to confuse me is that this information is hardly secret, and yet people insist on maintaining a belief that somehow Australia is not pulling its weight, when in fact we are world-leading.

…and now France has closed its borders completely, wishing they had followed Australia’s lead and done so 3 months ago, before ISIS sent hundreds of terrorists into Europe posing as “refugees”…

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-34814203

rubaiyat said :

Australia accepts a miserable number of UNHCR refugees, less than 6000 per year only, ….
….
http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/RefugeeResettlement
.

…and from that site, some of the other countries’ figures for 2012 were:
Sweden
1,483
Norway
1,137
United Kingdom
989
Finland
763

From you very own reference, the figure shows that Australia’s resettlement intake for 2012 was the 2nd-LEAST miserable amount in the world, without even calculating it on a per capita basis.

That makes us the 2nd-most generous country in the world!

And yet we keep hearing about how “terrible” we are, how “ashamed” you are, and so forth.

Your beliefs simply do not tally with the facts. It’s astounding.

HenryBG said :

rubaiyat said :

France’s refugee intake: 210,207

Australia’s refugee intake: 23,434

Over 3x our intake rate per head of population.

…Some of us actual research rather than make it up.

I think it is very important for you to read the information provided here:
http://www.resettlement.eu/country/france

Start of annual quota: 2008

Current quota: 100 dossier cases per year
Resettlement numbers
Year Total arrivals
2014

117
2013

107
2012

90
2011

55
2010

203
2009

159

There are two main points to take home from this –
1. France has only been participating with the UNHCR refugee resettlement program since 2008, contrst that with Australia’s long-standing comittment to this program.
2. France resettles 100-200 refugees per yaer. Never mind per capita values, this is at best 1/100th of the amount of resettling of refugees that Australia does.

What continues to confuse me is that this information is hardly secret, and yet people insist on maintaining a belief that somehow Australia is not pulling its weight, when in fact we are world-leading.

If France doesn’t wake up after today’s terrorist attacks it deserves what is coming to it.

rubaiyat said :

France’s refugee intake: 210,207

Australia’s refugee intake: 23,434

Over 3x our intake rate per head of population.

…Some of us actual research rather than make it up.

I think it is very important for you to read the information provided here:
http://www.resettlement.eu/country/france

Start of annual quota: 2008

Current quota: 100 dossier cases per year
Resettlement numbers
Year Total arrivals
2014 117
2013 107
2012 90
2011 55
2010 203
2009 159

There are two main points to take home from this –
1. France has only been participating with the UNHCR refugee resettlement program since 2008, contrst that with Australia’s long-standing comittment to this program.
2. France resettles 100-200 refugees per yaer. Never mind per capita values, this is at best 1/100th of the amount of resettling of refugees that Australia does.

What continues to confuse me is that this information is hardly secret, and yet people insist on maintaining a belief that somehow Australia is not pulling its weight, when in fact we are world-leading.

Michelle_Dunne_Breen12:32 pm 13 Nov 15

By using mainstream media for information, your argument lowers itself to the same standard as me, where unfounded accusations fly left, right and center.

You’re giving yourself away there, friend. 🙂

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

There is a fair bit of semantic nit-picking going on here, and exonerating our actions by pointing to other countries that are doing worse. .

It’s not “nit-picking” to point out that Australia is a leading participant in the UNHCR’s refugee resettlement program which targets the neediest refugees for resettlement.

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

The bottom line is, we have locked up innocent people (yes, innocent – they haven’t been found guilty of anything) indefinitely in offshore camps….

What you are engaging in is a political rhetoric – there is no requirement that anybody be “found guilty of anything” in order to be detained, and they are perfectly legally detained.
Neither are they “detained indefinitely”: as soon as we have identified them properly and figured out what they are up to, they are free to leave. Most do.
The few troublemakers who choose to remain in Australian detention centres to continue scoring generous food and healthcare are doing so of their own free will. They are free to leave anytime they want (and they’ll be flown home at Australian taxpayers’ expense, with virtually no attempt made to force them to defray Austraila for the considerable costs involved in their attempt to enter Australia illegally.

Australia accepts a miserable number of UNHCR refugees, less than 6000 per year only, 3.2% of our migrant intake and falling under the Abbott government. The recent declaration of accepting more Syrian refugees may change this in a minor way.

http://www.aph.gov.au/About_Parliament/Parliamentary_Departments/Parliamentary_Library/pubs/rp/rp1415/RefugeeResettlement

The big lie is that refugees have a choice, they have bugger all choice let alone chance.

rubaiyat said :

HenryBG said :

watto23 said :

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. ..

So, how are they doing in France for example:
http://www.thelocal.fr/20151110/calais-second-night-of-violence-towards-police

Gosh, we seem to be doing better than them.
And how many refugees has France resettled under the UNHCR program? about 1/100th as many as Australia?

The whole idea Australia is doing poorly is a complete myth. By resettling genuine refugees in cooperation with the UNHCR (and at the highest rate per capita than all but 3 other countries in the entire world) we ensure that the limited number we can resettle each year is aimed at resettling the neediest.

Asylum seekers who are on the move through France are on their way to Britain for the very simple reason that the French legal system offers them no incentive to stay in France. Creating the kind of incentive that exists in Britain (and Australia) will create deaths, violence, and inequity as well as creating illegal migration issue in neighbouring countries..

If you are going to tell a lie*, make sure it is a big one:

France’s refugee intake: 210,207

Australia’s refugee intake: 23,434

Over 3x our intake rate per head of population.

* But don’t try it on this forum. Some of us actual research rather than make it up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_refugee_population

That is the total refugee population in the country, not what their intake is. And the main reason is, that they aren’t resettling those refugees, they’re giving them temporary residency if their claims are accepted which only currently has about a 22% success rate.

I’m sure the same people complaining about our deterrence policy would be equally complaining if we accepted refugees for temporary protection, took a couple of years to assess their claims and didn’t allow them to work or provide social welfare for them in the meantime.

chewy14 said :

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

There is a fair bit of semantic nit-picking going on here, and exonerating our actions by pointing to other countries that are doing worse. The bottom line is, we have locked up innocent people (yes, innocent – they haven’t been found guilty of anything) indefinitely in offshore camps that have no independent oversight and which numerous sources have claimed are staffed by guards that do them harm, sexually and physically. The food is appalling, the accommodation is disgusting, the healthcare is substandard, people have become very ill and some have died. It is indefensible on any grounds – moral, economic or even drownings. There is not simply a choice of drownings at sea and tormenting the survivors to the point of losing their minds and sometimes their lives. For those calling for critics to put up solutions – there have been solutions forwarded. Here in Canberra, we have the Refugee Action Committee, which is a very diverse group of concerned Canberrans. It includes those of many faith groups, students, academics, public servants, all political opinions. The thing that we agree on and work together towards is that Australia needs a much more humane refugee policy. Look at http://www.refugeeaction.org for the alternative policy proposed. Oh, and there’s a vigil this evening, at the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive. Come along. We’re nice, as well as committed and passionate.

And as all alternative policies like this, it has severe shortcomings. Problems that would make it impossible to implement without causing further more serious problems, particularly for neighbouring countries to us. The most obvious being:

1. It’s an open border policy. There are no limits placed in the numbers they expect us to take for resettlement. How do you organise processing and support services when your intake is limitless? Either the processing and support services are completely overwhelmed or you lower the services available to arrivals. Either is problematic and would cost many billions of dollars.

2. Bypassing Safety Checks. Once the limits on services are reached and asylum seekers have to wait (say in Indonesia or other refugee camps, how do you prevent them from hopping on a boat and simply bypassing any safety/health checks? This also brings back the risk of asylum seekers dieing at sea.

3. Effect on Neighbouring Countries. I dont think Indonesia is going to be too happy with us flooding them with asylum seekers using their country as a stepping stone to Australia. The pull factors created would cause massive unrest.

4. Equity. Under this policy, we will only have the resources to accept those who can get themselves to Indonesia or hop on a boat here. This necessarily means that the only refugees we accept will be self selected and will not be those people who are most in danger of immediate persecution. Surely we want an equitable solution, not one which gives preference to those with the money and means to get here?

The proposed policy, like most presented by those who claim the moral high ground for themselves due to their infinite compassion, could never work in the real world. It fails to even come close to addressing so many other problems that it, in itself, would create.

I thought asylum seekers were obliged to seek refuge and residence in the first safe country they arrived in after they fled from wherever they were being oppressed?
So, how come they are not settling in Indonesia?
Could it be that our concentration camps are of a higher standard than Indonesia’s?
Most of the asylum seekers arriving in Australia conspire with people smugglers to get here and then destroy their papers which is tantamount to entering Australia illegally. I thought conspiracy and identity fraud were serious issues – apparently if the situation is under the heading of “humanitarian” it is OK. Well, it’s not OK with me.
Australia has no legal responsibility to care/re-settle these people whatever they say their circumstances are.

justin heywood1:21 am 13 Nov 15

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

There is a fair bit of semantic nit-picking going on here, and exonerating our actions by pointing to other countries that are doing worse. The bottom line is, we have locked up innocent people (yes, innocent – they haven’t been found guilty of anything) indefinitely in offshore camps that have no independent oversight and which numerous sources have claimed are staffed by guards that do them harm, sexually and physically. The food is appalling, the accommodation is disgusting, the healthcare is substandard, people have become very ill and some have died. It is indefensible on any grounds – moral, economic or even drownings. There is not simply a choice of drownings at sea and tormenting the survivors to the point of losing their minds and sometimes their lives. For those calling for critics to put up solutions – there have been solutions forwarded. Here in Canberra, we have the Refugee Action Committee, which is a very diverse group of concerned Canberrans. It includes those of many faith groups, students, academics, public servants, all political opinions. The thing that we agree on and work together towards is that Australia needs a much more humane refugee policy. Look at http://www.refugeeaction.org for the alternative policy proposed. Oh, and there’s a vigil this evening, at the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive. Come along. We’re nice, as well as committed and passionate.

Michelle, I see that the committee is calling for Australia to process refugee’s applications in transit countries and transport successful applicants safely to Australia, thus bypassing the people smugglers and avoiding the sinking boats. This sounds like an idea but raises a few questions;

– what ‘would ‘transit’ country’s attitudes be to this do you think? What would become of those rejected by Australia? Whose responsibility would they be?

– if we abandon detention and release people into the community on arrival, why would anyone take a chance having their assessment in, say, Indonesia, and possibly a long wait or rejection? Surely a significant number would simply hop on some leaky boat, as they have done in the past.

– There is reportedly about 50 million displaced people in the world and obviously Australia cannot help all of them. How many does the committee believe we can take per year, and what happens when we approach this number?

These are genuine questions which I believe deserve proper answers from people who seek a change in policy. No thinking person believes there is a simple solution to all this, and it is unfair to accuse people of being ‘inhumane’ without explaining exactly what a better policy might be.

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

The food is appalling, the accommodation is disgusting, the healthcare is substandard.

Cabbage is disgusting but mum still made you eat it. Is your mum such a bad person. I wouldn’t think so.

$10 million in damage was done to one centre . Lets say $15 million accommodation centre doesn’t sound very disgusting .

we flew one lady 32.000 km’s for health treatment which she wanted then didn’t want. That’s a carbon tax bill for nothing isn’t it.

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

There is a fair bit of semantic nit-picking going on here, and exonerating our actions by pointing to other countries that are doing worse. The bottom line is, we have locked up innocent people (yes, innocent – they haven’t been found guilty of anything) indefinitely in offshore camps that have no independent oversight and which numerous sources have claimed are staffed by guards that do them harm, sexually and physically. The food is appalling, the accommodation is disgusting, the healthcare is substandard, people have become very ill and some have died. It is indefensible on any grounds – moral, economic or even drownings. There is not simply a choice of drownings at sea and tormenting the survivors to the point of losing their minds and sometimes their lives. For those calling for critics to put up solutions – there have been solutions forwarded. Here in Canberra, we have the Refugee Action Committee, which is a very diverse group of concerned Canberrans. It includes those of many faith groups, students, academics, public servants, all political opinions. The thing that we agree on and work together towards is that Australia needs a much more humane refugee policy. Look at http://www.refugeeaction.org for the alternative policy proposed. Oh, and there’s a vigil this evening, at the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive. Come along. We’re nice, as well as committed and passionate.

And as all alternative policies like this, it has severe shortcomings. Problems that would make it impossible to implement without causing further more serious problems, particularly for neighbouring countries to us. The most obvious being:

1. It’s an open border policy. There are no limits placed in the numbers they expect us to take for resettlement. How do you organise processing and support services when your intake is limitless? Either the processing and support services are completely overwhelmed or you lower the services available to arrivals. Either is problematic and would cost many billions of dollars.

2. Bypassing Safety Checks. Once the limits on services are reached and asylum seekers have to wait (say in Indonesia or other refugee camps, how do you prevent them from hopping on a boat and simply bypassing any safety/health checks? This also brings back the risk of asylum seekers dieing at sea.

3. Effect on Neighbouring Countries. I dont think Indonesia is going to be too happy with us flooding them with asylum seekers using their country as a stepping stone to Australia. The pull factors created would cause massive unrest.

4. Equity. Under this policy, we will only have the resources to accept those who can get themselves to Indonesia or hop on a boat here. This necessarily means that the only refugees we accept will be self selected and will not be those people who are most in danger of immediate persecution. Surely we want an equitable solution, not one which gives preference to those with the money and means to get here?

The proposed policy, like most presented by those who claim the moral high ground for themselves due to their infinite compassion, could never work in the real world. It fails to even come close to addressing so many other problems that it, in itself, would create.

HenryBG said :

watto23 said :

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. ..

So, how are they doing in France for example:
http://www.thelocal.fr/20151110/calais-second-night-of-violence-towards-police

Gosh, we seem to be doing better than them.
And how many refugees has France resettled under the UNHCR program? about 1/100th as many as Australia?

The whole idea Australia is doing poorly is a complete myth. By resettling genuine refugees in cooperation with the UNHCR (and at the highest rate per capita than all but 3 other countries in the entire world) we ensure that the limited number we can resettle each year is aimed at resettling the neediest.

Asylum seekers who are on the move through France are on their way to Britain for the very simple reason that the French legal system offers them no incentive to stay in France. Creating the kind of incentive that exists in Britain (and Australia) will create deaths, violence, and inequity as well as creating illegal migration issue in neighbouring countries..

If you are going to tell a lie*, make sure it is a big one:

France’s refugee intake: 210,207

Australia’s refugee intake: 23,434

Over 3x our intake rate per head of population.

* But don’t try it on this forum. Some of us actual research rather than make it up.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_refugee_population

dungfungus said :

Cut off their supplies and how long do you think they will last?

Canberra wouldn’t last a week before we would have to abandon it without the Middle East’s oil. We don’t have them by the balls, they have us and we stupidly put our cojones in their hands.

You’re quoting North Korea as having a valid opinion on human rights! Ha ha ha ha ha ha

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

There is a fair bit of semantic nit-picking going on here.

It is The Riot Act after all.

wildturkeycanoe5:43 pm 12 Nov 15

Michelle_Dunne_Breen said :

We’re nice, as well as committed and passionate.

I’m sure the extremists in the Middle East are more committed, passionate and in their own opinion quite lovely people. It is the “nice” bit that will be our undoing in the fight against a force such as IS. Just as Christianity in its true form is welcoming and accepting of just about anybody, it becomes an easy target for thieves, fraudsters and all kind of criminal. They know that the other cheek will be turned and it’s a free for all next time. Do you think a peaceful country with goals of multiculturalism will survive an onslaught of millions who will stop at nothing to expel the infidel? Even those with Islamic roots who oppose the terrorists have not succeeded, how then will democratic nations who can’t even agree on what to do about the overflow situation?
But back to the topic, the conditions in these “prison camps” is supposed to be a well guarded secret just like the numbers of boats arriving, which only the government knows. By using mainstream media for information, your argument lowers itself to the same standard as me, where unfounded accusations fly left, right and center. Hasn’t there also been examples of mainly the people being contained in these camps being the ones committing the atrocities you speak of? How do we handle those who treat their own fellow refugees with the same crimes they were fleeing from? Conditions in the camps could probably be better, I agree, but we cannot just let them all flood into the country without proper scrutiny, and by that I mean ensuring they are who they claim to be. If their documents [so vital and usually highly guarded from theft or damage] were mysteriously lost in transit, then it will take longer to verify their stories. Lashing out at guards or fellow detainees should be instant cause for relocation back to a suitable neighborhood [Sahara Desert seems appropriate]. If they are truly peace seeking people, then any kind of violence should be evidence of fraud.

Michelle_Dunne_Breen4:28 pm 12 Nov 15

There is a fair bit of semantic nit-picking going on here, and exonerating our actions by pointing to other countries that are doing worse. The bottom line is, we have locked up innocent people (yes, innocent – they haven’t been found guilty of anything) indefinitely in offshore camps that have no independent oversight and which numerous sources have claimed are staffed by guards that do them harm, sexually and physically. The food is appalling, the accommodation is disgusting, the healthcare is substandard, people have become very ill and some have died. It is indefensible on any grounds – moral, economic or even drownings. There is not simply a choice of drownings at sea and tormenting the survivors to the point of losing their minds and sometimes their lives. For those calling for critics to put up solutions – there have been solutions forwarded. Here in Canberra, we have the Refugee Action Committee, which is a very diverse group of concerned Canberrans. It includes those of many faith groups, students, academics, public servants, all political opinions. The thing that we agree on and work together towards is that Australia needs a much more humane refugee policy. Look at http://www.refugeeaction.org for the alternative policy proposed. Oh, and there’s a vigil this evening, at the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Barry Drive. Come along. We’re nice, as well as committed and passionate.

HenryBG said :

Blen_Carmichael said :

Charlotte Harper said :

They are the reason I’m calling on Malcolm Turnbull to take steps to end the concentration camp-style offshore detention of asylum seekers before even more lives are destroyed.

Ah yes, our detention centres are apparently concentration camps now. Nothing like a rational debate, is there?

When I think of my army days, staying in camps with considerably worse facilities and food than these illegal entrants are getting (and far tighter and more violent discipline), if theirs are “concentration camps”, then what the hell would you have called ours…?

Our refugee detention centres bear no resemblance to the concentration camps pioneered in South West Africa and “perfected” by Nazi Germany. It makes one wonder where today’s journalists were educated to allow the association of the phrase with what actually happens.

Blen_Carmichael said :

Charlotte Harper said :

They are the reason I’m calling on Malcolm Turnbull to take steps to end the concentration camp-style offshore detention of asylum seekers before even more lives are destroyed.

Ah yes, our detention centres are apparently concentration camps now. Nothing like a rational debate, is there?

When I think of my army days, staying in camps with considerably worse facilities and food than these illegal entrants are getting (and far tighter and more violent discipline), if theirs are “concentration camps”, then what the hell would you have called ours…?

dungfungus said :

Cut off their supplies and how long do you think they will last?

Are you calling on capitalism to voluntarily stop making money and take a moral stance on trading with Bad People?
Capitalism and morality are just as mutually incompatible as Islam is with secular Democracy. That’s why we have government.
Our government is supposed to regulate capitalist enterprise.
We are paying our politicians 100’s of ,000s of $$$ to impose the will of the people over individuals who pay themselves $million$.
Spot the flaw in that system.

wildturkeycanoe9:43 am 12 Nov 15

dungfungus said :

wildturkeycanoe said :

The same old line is repeated again and again, “What can we do to stop the problem?”
For genuine refugees fleeing persecution the solution is simple, get rid of the reason they are fleeing. In the case of the Syrian refugees, bomb IS out of their bunkers, get rid if Assad’s regime and help the refugees re-settle in the country of their birth. If the different factions still cannot get along with each other after getting rid of the overlords presently ruining the country, the let them sort it our for themselves or divvy up the land and have someone like the UN police the borders so that the respective economies can get running again. There’s no point in opening the borders and letting them all run for safety because that pretty much just lets the bad guys win and causes chaos for the entire globe.
Honestly, why do the middle eastern regions have such crazy people who simply cannot get along with each other? We have a nation divided pretty much in two by political motivations, namely Labor and Liberal. Do we have war over it? Do we kill those who don’t think like we do? No! We simply use democracy to sort it out and live with the consequences. In mainly middle eastern countries where different religions live together they cannot even talk out their differences. They squabble over cities that are holy to them, over land that their ancestors fought for and innocent victims get piled into mass graves just so that there can be only one winner.
I am sick of hearing about it, sick of seeing it every day in the news and worried more that it is getting closer to home with every single refugee given entry to Australia.
If the countries who start these refugee problems aren’t part of the UN and will not let the UN intervene to stop the atrocities then the refugees shouldn’t be allowed out of those countries onto UN soils. These internal matters surely are terrible for the world to watch unfold, but sanctuary and charity can only go so far when western economies have their own struggles, poverty and homelessness.

I agree with you up to a point but when you say Assad should be replaced who or what system were you suggesting?
Obama gave false hope to the Northern African states and look what happened to the “Arab Spring”.
Democracy in Muslim countries does not work. For a start, how can you have democracy countries that don’t recognise equal rights for women?
The only way there will be “peace” in these countries is to let ISIS take them over and then we can isolate them from the rest of the world with force.
At the same time all migration to the West from Muslim countries must stop. It’s time they sorted out their own problems in their own countries.
ISIS hates the West more than any other Islamist group but they still use weapons, mobile phones and motor vehicles from the West.
Cut off their supplies and how long do you think they will last?

That is the crux of the problem. Democracy vs Islam and Sharia law. Eventually it’ll come down to a bitter fight to the end, freedom vs slavery. By then though, the West will be infiltrated with followers of the old Islamic principles and the battle will be fought in the streets instead of along countrys’ borders.

wildturkeycanoe said :

The same old line is repeated again and again, “What can we do to stop the problem?”
For genuine refugees fleeing persecution the solution is simple, get rid of the reason they are fleeing. In the case of the Syrian refugees, bomb IS out of their bunkers, get rid if Assad’s regime and help the refugees re-settle in the country of their birth. If the different factions still cannot get along with each other after getting rid of the overlords presently ruining the country, the let them sort it our for themselves or divvy up the land and have someone like the UN police the borders so that the respective economies can get running again. There’s no point in opening the borders and letting them all run for safety because that pretty much just lets the bad guys win and causes chaos for the entire globe.
Honestly, why do the middle eastern regions have such crazy people who simply cannot get along with each other? We have a nation divided pretty much in two by political motivations, namely Labor and Liberal. Do we have war over it? Do we kill those who don’t think like we do? No! We simply use democracy to sort it out and live with the consequences. In mainly middle eastern countries where different religions live together they cannot even talk out their differences. They squabble over cities that are holy to them, over land that their ancestors fought for and innocent victims get piled into mass graves just so that there can be only one winner.
I am sick of hearing about it, sick of seeing it every day in the news and worried more that it is getting closer to home with every single refugee given entry to Australia.
If the countries who start these refugee problems aren’t part of the UN and will not let the UN intervene to stop the atrocities then the refugees shouldn’t be allowed out of those countries onto UN soils. These internal matters surely are terrible for the world to watch unfold, but sanctuary and charity can only go so far when western economies have their own struggles, poverty and homelessness.

I agree with you up to a point but when you say Assad should be replaced who or what system were you suggesting?
Obama gave false hope to the Northern African states and look what happened to the “Arab Spring”.
Democracy in Muslim countries does not work. For a start, how can you have democracy countries that don’t recognise equal rights for women?
The only way there will be “peace” in these countries is to let ISIS take them over and then we can isolate them from the rest of the world with force.
At the same time all migration to the West from Muslim countries must stop. It’s time they sorted out their own problems in their own countries.
ISIS hates the West more than any other Islamist group but they still use weapons, mobile phones and motor vehicles from the West.
Cut off their supplies and how long do you think they will last?

wildturkeycanoe6:37 pm 11 Nov 15

The same old line is repeated again and again, “What can we do to stop the problem?”
For genuine refugees fleeing persecution the solution is simple, get rid of the reason they are fleeing. In the case of the Syrian refugees, bomb IS out of their bunkers, get rid if Assad’s regime and help the refugees re-settle in the country of their birth. If the different factions still cannot get along with each other after getting rid of the overlords presently ruining the country, the let them sort it our for themselves or divvy up the land and have someone like the UN police the borders so that the respective economies can get running again. There’s no point in opening the borders and letting them all run for safety because that pretty much just lets the bad guys win and causes chaos for the entire globe.
Honestly, why do the middle eastern regions have such crazy people who simply cannot get along with each other? We have a nation divided pretty much in two by political motivations, namely Labor and Liberal. Do we have war over it? Do we kill those who don’t think like we do? No! We simply use democracy to sort it out and live with the consequences. In mainly middle eastern countries where different religions live together they cannot even talk out their differences. They squabble over cities that are holy to them, over land that their ancestors fought for and innocent victims get piled into mass graves just so that there can be only one winner.
I am sick of hearing about it, sick of seeing it every day in the news and worried more that it is getting closer to home with every single refugee given entry to Australia.
If the countries who start these refugee problems aren’t part of the UN and will not let the UN intervene to stop the atrocities then the refugees shouldn’t be allowed out of those countries onto UN soils. These internal matters surely are terrible for the world to watch unfold, but sanctuary and charity can only go so far when western economies have their own struggles, poverty and homelessness.

Blen_Carmichael3:13 pm 11 Nov 15

Charlotte Harper said :

They are the reason I’m calling on Malcolm Turnbull to take steps to end the concentration camp-style offshore detention of asylum seekers before even more lives are destroyed.

Ah yes, our detention centres are apparently concentration camps now. Nothing like a rational debate, is there?

HenryBG said :

watto23 said :

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. ..

So, how are they doing in France for example:
http://www.thelocal.fr/20151110/calais-second-night-of-violence-towards-police

Gosh, we seem to be doing better than them.
And how many refugees has France resettled under the UNHCR program? about 1/100th as many as Australia?

The whole idea Australia is doing poorly is a complete myth. By resettling genuine refugees in cooperation with the UNHCR (and at the highest rate per capita than all but 3 other countries in the entire world) we ensure that the limited number we can resettle each year is aimed at resettling the neediest.

Asylum seekers who are on the move through France are on their way to Britain for the very simple reason that the French legal system offers them no incentive to stay in France. Creating the kind of incentive that exists in Britain (and Australia) will create deaths, violence, and inequity as well as creating illegal migration issue in neighbouring countries..

Tell that to the U.N. Good luck.

watto23 said :

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. The whole stop the boats fiasco is just a big con job. the far right feel like they show compassion by not having people die at seas, but we also have no idea how many people were turned around, how it was achieved and lets be honest, people are still dying in refugee camps. Now I completely agree we can’t have people arriving by boat for many reasons. But we really haven’t solved any problems. We’ve just satisified the far right fear mongers.

I have hope as our current PM is stalking about inclusiveness rather than the previous ones divisive tactics that split the country. There is no doubt in my mind we could accept a significant number of refugees and the country would be no worse off. Even if say the average Australian was say 1% worse off, is that not a reasonable price to help x thousands of people.

Whilever the far right use sterotypes and fear and the far left fail to understand that yes being nice to refugees as a human is the correct thing to do, there are still economic decisions that need to be made. I’d love to know how many Rohinga people from Myanmar, we’ve taken from refugee camps. I suspect very few because they are persecuted muslims, being persecuted by those nice buddhists.

We are not doing enough and we can do more, its a shame so many people prefer to revel in the fear and stereotypes rather than look for real solutions.

Remember Tony Kevin and his outraged fellow travellers relentlessly attacking the “far right” Howard government about the sinking of SIEV X conspiracy despite Australia’s efforts to locate and save the vessel?
What would have happened if we did locate the vessel before it sank and returned it safe and sound back to Indonesia without any loss of life? Would that have been a con job?
Not only were the illegal immigrants risking their own lives but they were a threat to the lives of our Border Protection personnel who were obliged to save them when the boat was deliberately sabotaged to avoid being turned back.
If Abbott did not take a stand when he did, hundred of thousands of undocumented people would have invaded Australia and many would have lost their lives at sea in attempts to get here also. We simply haven’t got the resources to handle that many people (look at the problems Sweden is having). It was the right decision at the time and it still is the right policy to keep doing it. And the best you can do is call it a big con job? Give me a break!
I don’t know a lot about the Muslim Rohingas in Myanmar; are they indigenous? Surely peace loving Buddhists aren’t turning them away – must be the actions a few lone wolves – nothing to do with religion. And it is not our problem, OK?

watto23 said :

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. ..

So, how are they doing in France for example:
http://www.thelocal.fr/20151110/calais-second-night-of-violence-towards-police

Gosh, we seem to be doing better than them.
And how many refugees has France resettled under the UNHCR program? about 1/100th as many as Australia?

The whole idea Australia is doing poorly is a complete myth. By resettling genuine refugees in cooperation with the UNHCR (and at the highest rate per capita than all but 3 other countries in the entire world) we ensure that the limited number we can resettle each year is aimed at resettling the neediest.

Asylum seekers who are on the move through France are on their way to Britain for the very simple reason that the French legal system offers them no incentive to stay in France. Creating the kind of incentive that exists in Britain (and Australia) will create deaths, violence, and inequity as well as creating illegal migration issue in neighbouring countries..

justin heywood12:40 pm 11 Nov 15

watto23 said :

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. The whole stop the boats fiasco is just a big con job. the far right feel like they show compassion by not having people die at seas, but we also have no idea how many people were turned around, how it was achieved and lets be honest, people are still dying in refugee camps. Now I completely agree we can’t have people arriving by boat for many reasons. But we really haven’t solved any problems. We’ve just satisified the far right fear mongers.

I have hope as our current PM is stalking about inclusiveness rather than the previous ones divisive tactics that split the country. There is no doubt in my mind we could accept a significant number of refugees and the country would be no worse off. Even if say the average Australian was say 1% worse off, is that not a reasonable price to help x thousands of people.

Whilever the far right use sterotypes and fear and the far left fail to understand that yes being nice to refugees as a human is the correct thing to do, there are still economic decisions that need to be made. I’d love to know how many Rohinga people from Myanmar, we’ve taken from refugee camps. I suspect very few because they are persecuted muslims, being persecuted by those nice buddhists.

We are not doing enough and we can do more, its a shame so many people prefer to revel in the fear and stereotypes rather than look for real solutions.

And yet you offer no solutions yourself Watto, just some pointless political name-calling. Half the problem with this issue is trying to discuss the matter while mindless abuse is hurled from the ‘high moral ground’.

If it was just a struggle between ‘far-right fear mongers’ and compassionate lefties you might have an argument, but the middle ground is where it’s at, and at the moment I think the middle ground is uneasy about opening our virtual borders German-style, or even re-visiting Rudd’s ‘softer’ policies. The first is economically unsustainable and the latter is murderous, in my view.

My opinion: we know where many genuine refugees are; in camps. Find those most in need, fly them here and resettle them, in numbers. Do not accept people who are trying to game the system.

The problem we have in Australia is we have a far right pushing the fear agenda, and the far left not able to offer any kind of viable solution. I have a lot of sympathy for refugees and asylum seekers though and I feel Australia does quite poorly regarding it on many fronts. The whole stop the boats fiasco is just a big con job. the far right feel like they show compassion by not having people die at seas, but we also have no idea how many people were turned around, how it was achieved and lets be honest, people are still dying in refugee camps. Now I completely agree we can’t have people arriving by boat for many reasons. But we really haven’t solved any problems. We’ve just satisified the far right fear mongers.

I have hope as our current PM is stalking about inclusiveness rather than the previous ones divisive tactics that split the country. There is no doubt in my mind we could accept a significant number of refugees and the country would be no worse off. Even if say the average Australian was say 1% worse off, is that not a reasonable price to help x thousands of people.

Whilever the far right use sterotypes and fear and the far left fail to understand that yes being nice to refugees as a human is the correct thing to do, there are still economic decisions that need to be made. I’d love to know how many Rohinga people from Myanmar, we’ve taken from refugee camps. I suspect very few because they are persecuted muslims, being persecuted by those nice buddhists.

We are not doing enough and we can do more, its a shame so many people prefer to revel in the fear and stereotypes rather than look for real solutions.

I agree we should change our asylum seeker policy.

By lobbying for a complete rewriting of the refugee convention or removing ourselves as a signatory nation.

It’s a completely outdated document that was written to facilitate simple cross border movements of asylum seekers/refugees when international travel was rare, expensive and hard to access. Now, you can hop on an international flight through multiple safe countries and then hop on a boat to your destination country and expect to be resettled. The whole point was to stop people from being persecuted and killed, not to allow them to have a better life.

Our current policy, whilst clearly not perfect, allows us to control the amount of refugees we accept, to choose the most in need of our assistance and to prevent people dieing at sea as well as stopping the illegal people smuggling trade. It has reduced the amount of arrivals immensely and eventually the camps will empty as the asylum seekers who arrived under previous policies are processed and resettled elsewhere and no one else arrives because they have been given a clear message that we will not accept them by that means. The people smugglers business model is dead, why would anyone want to resuscitate it?

This policy with then allow us to redirect our limited resources to assisting more people overseas or lifting our overall refugee intake from those most in need of our help, rather than preferentially helping those with the means to escape their persecution and who are no longer in immediate danger.

Charlotte Harper said :

That’s true, Justin, but are other countries treating asylum seekers the way we are? .

I found an amusing Wikipedia article:

Which includes:
“Detention and deportation
Through detention, the illegal immigrants will be imprisoned, caned and finally deported. This was done to help regulate immigration and to remind them to return to their home countries by letting them know to “not flout the law again”.[48]”

Gosh, our bleeding hearts have apoplectic fits if we fail to give our illegal immigrants a free taxpayer-funded lawyer – just imagine if we gave them a bit of a caning, like some foreign countries do…?

“When even North Korea is critical of Australia for breaches of human rights, it’s time for our government and opposition leaders to makes some changes in the way we treat asylum seekers and Indigenous Australians.”

Oh please, you’d have to be born yesterday to think that anything said by the North Korean regime is deserving of thoughtful consideration, especially on the subject of human rights. They throw inflammatory comments anywhere they can in a vain attempt to feel relevant on the international stage. They have no credibility.

justin heywood said :

Charlotte, every western country is struggling with this problem. There ARE no easy answers.

Do you propose a solution? If so, why not put it forward and then we can debate that?

I’d also like to hear a solution or suggestion as to what they answer is. I hear frequently from people who don’t like the current situation. As of yet, I haven’t heard a single viable suggestion from any of them.

So…open the floodgates again and let thousands of them drown, just like what happened as soon as Kevin Rudd came to power?

Australia treats refugees and asylum seekers better than most other countries. We resettle – per capita – more than all but 3 other countries. Few countries hold out any hope of permanent resettlement to refugees, but Australia has resettled over a million over the years. Few countries offer refugees free housing, cash payments, and free education for their children. Australia does. Most countries hosting refugees within their borders just ignore them – they allow international aid agencies to come in and help them, but they certainly do not provide them with the benefits that we do.

And you want us to worry about what *NORTH KOREA* has to say!?!?!? ROTFLMAO!!!!!!!

Charlotte Harper said :

That’s true, Justin, but are other countries treating asylum seekers the way we are? I don’t think so. Anyway, a follow up post along the lines you’re suggesting is an excellent idea. I’ll do that, or better yet commission someone else with more expertise in the area to do it.

I am interested to know how North Korea treats its asylum seekers.
With such an inspiring leader and superior political system, a human rights record second to none, it’s no wonder thousands of oppressed people are rushing there to seek asylum.
Make sure your expert focuses on North Korea.

Dear Charlotte,

I do hate to be the cloud and the lemon that spoils your sunshine and lollipops experience regarding the recent election results in Burma but here goes. The victory of the National League for Democracy party does not mean that Aung San Suu Kyi will be President of Myanmar (Burma). The constitution prevents it because she married a foreigner and has children to a foreigner. It also guarantees 25% of the seat in Parliament to the military junta. It also guarantees key ministerial positions to the military junta.

The victory an important step towards a more civil and democratic Myanmar? Absolutely. Will life improve overnight? Absolutely not. In fact it could get worse, much worse before it gets better.

Unfortunately I must also take you to task on the content of your missive regarding the reporting by The Guardian. Whilst I sympathise and understand your viewpoint regarding off-shore detention you have done yourself no favours by referring to the comments of North Korea, Turkey, India, Indonesia and even Great Britain on our Australia’s Human Rights Record.

Worse still you have placed it in a United Nations context. The UN is no shining beacon of Human Rights Charlotte.

I look forward to reading the piece commissioned by someone with more expertise than you.

Aung San Suu Kyi now has her own dilemma, we shall see to what degree the military will let her rule, but her followers are not innocent of their own injustices.

She notably did not speak up or intercede on behalf of the Rohingyas who are in a desperate plight and deeply despised by nearly all sides in Burma.

justin heywood8:52 pm 10 Nov 15

Charlotte, every western country is struggling with this problem. There ARE no easy answers.

Do you propose a solution? If so, why not put it forward and then we can debate that?

Charlotte Harper9:42 pm 10 Nov 15

That’s true, Justin, but are other countries treating asylum seekers the way we are? I don’t think so. Anyway, a follow up post along the lines you’re suggesting is an excellent idea. I’ll do that, or better yet commission someone else with more expertise in the area to do it.

Are the same critics bagging Sweden who give everything to asylum seekers and nothing to the their homeless and the Roma who must be the most despised people in Europe- wait, they are European too aren’t they?
https://au.finance.yahoo.com/news/roma-migrants-poverty-returns-sweden-182038078.html

And just a little bit more. This ‘review’ thing started in 2006, and I guess going alphabetically, there is Afghanistan ( what can you say here ) , or Argentina ( still looking for missing people )
then Azerbaijan, effectively run by one family.

I guess the UN will then move on through the rest of the alphabet. There will be some beauties for the guardian to report on , but i won’t mention all the countries as I’m off to the club. However I will say North Korea by itself should fill an entire gaurdian edition.

MERC600, does a person receiving a reasonable pay packet immediately make them wrong? Or consumption of alcohol (check your comment history)?

Hmm. The UN hey… well ….let him who is without sin cast the first stone , or however it goes.

A 110 countries bagged us at the UN hey, all feeling they have done something to deserve their massive pay packets, before breaking off for champers and canapes.

Yawn.

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