August 7, 2011
The first boatload of asylum seekers, including 14 unaccompanied minors, is set to be deported to Malaysia, a country with an even worse human rights record than Australia. Prime Minister Gillard has stated that the Australian Federal Police will use force to deport these innocent people. This group of asylum seekers is being used as pawns in a political game.
The government needs to be reminded that seeking asylum is not illegal. No-one chooses to be a refugee. War, tyranny and torture are the situations that force people to seek asylum.
The Labor government has faced many criticism from refugee advocates, lawyers and Labor Party members about this outrageous policy. The government claims to have guarantees that the 800 refugees who will be deported to Malaysia will have access to health, education and work, unlike other refugees in Malaysia. These guarantees aren’t worth anything because refugee advocates won’t be able to trace these refugees to ensure that the guarantees are met.
The Refugee Action Collecive says that “Swapping refugees does not change anything. It just puts more lives at risk. We should process asylum seekers in Australia, in the community and not in detention centres. It’s not too late to stop the Malaysia deal. Bad deals can always be broken. All we need is enough people and organisations to speak out against the Malaysia refugee swap deal.
With Guest Speaker Adam Bandt Federal Greens MP for Melbourne