Articles on Refugees

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Whichever way you add up the sums, Australians pay far too high a price for the government’s refugee policy. AAP/DIAC

Penny wise, pound foolish: how to really save money on refugees

At a cost of A$826.1 million in the 2014-15 federal budget, the processing and detention of around 2500 asylum seekers on Nauru and Manus Island is a scandalous waste of taxpayers’ money. The government’s…
Protesters in Brisbane at a rally against the Australian government’s asylum seekers policy on April 12, 2014. AAP/Andrew Stevenson

Why care about the health and well-being of asylum seekers?

A report on the refugee detention centre in Nauru by five independent clinical experts posted online by The Guardian on Friday paints a bleak picture of life on the island, particularly for children. But…
The report into the Manus Island riots in which Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati was killed raises critical questions about the long-term sustainability of offshore processing. AAP/Dan Peled

Manus violence report highlights the futility of offshore processing

The report on the issues leading up to and including the riots that took place in the Manus Island detention centre in February partially lifts the veil on the complex inner workings of offshore processing…
Nauru is too small to be able to cope with a significant number of resettled asylum seekers – hence the mooted proposals to resettle genuine refugees in Cambodia. AAP/Department of Immigration

Price of resettling refugees should not be our silence on Cambodia

In recent weeks, Abbott government ministers have been spruiking a plan for Cambodia to resettle some or all asylum seekers on Nauru who are found to be genuine refugees. While the Australian and Cambodian…

Asylum seekers: praying for change

Yesterday around 20 Christian activists staged sit-ins in Sydney at the office of the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, and in Melbourne at that of Federal Opposition Leader, Bill Shorten. The protesters included…
Many Australians feel the government should maintain a tough policy on asylum seekers who arrive by boat. Hadi Zader/Flickr

What underlies public prejudice towards asylum seekers?

According to a poll taken last December, 60% of those surveyed think the Australian government should “increase the severity of the treatment of asylum seekers”. What’s behind this negative sentiment (otherwise…
The transfer of asylum seekers to detention centres in Papua New Guinea is a clear violation of Australia’s international law obligations. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Asylum seekers: we can’t ignore our international law obligations

This week’s Four Corners investigation on the circumstances surrounding the death of Iranian asylum seeker Reza Barati at the Manus Island detention centre in February was uncomfortable viewing. The ABC…
Largely lost in the politics of Tony Abbott’s campaign to ‘stop the boats’ is the fate of refugees. AAP/Ava Benny-Morrison

From Darfur to Cipayung: refugees are left stranded

The Abbott government has celebrated the 100th day without any asylum seeker boats reaching Australian territory. This is the result of policies that favour the protection of borders rather than of people…
Interpol says one billion passengers travel without proper identity checks. EPA/Barbara Walton

Flight MH370 and the desperate demand for false passports

It has emerged that two of the passengers on the missing flight MH370 were travelling on stolen passports. Initially this was thought to suggest that terrorism might be involved in the disappearance, but…
Fasten your seatbelts. Eliezer Gabriel

Kabul is no safe haven for deported Afghan refugees

We crossed the courtyard and followed 16-year-old Amin around the back of the house. We removed our shoes, walked down the dark hallway and turned into the small dark room. The two youngest children sat…
Round-the-clock news coverage of every boat arrival helps create the perception Australia is facing a crisis. AAP/Jon Faulkner

Seeing refugee flows in a broader context points to a better way

Before 9/11 and the “Tampa” episode in 2001, Australia played a thoroughly constructive and decent role in refugee resettlement following World War Two and the Vietnam War. This happened despite a cultural…
Are we prepared to talk about migration as a solution to climate change? AAP Image/Courtesy; SBS Dateline, Supplied by Hussein Khoder

Migration is a solution to climate change, not a threat to security

How to deal with the impact of climate change is front and centre at international climate talks in Warsaw, with a fund for “losses and damages” caused by climate change to developing nations on the table…
Survivors of last week’s Lampedusa boat sinking, which is estimated to have left hundreds of African migrants dead. What can Australia learn from the tragedy? EPA/Ettore Ferrari

The Lampedusa asylum tragedy and the lessons for Australia

The recent event of yet another boat sinking off the coast of Lampedusa in Italy resulted in the death of hundreds of migrants with still more unaccounted for. Despite the tyranny of distance, the incident…
The UN Security Council’s statement on the humanitarian and refugee crisis developing in Syria may be a start, but will it actually help those displaced? EPA/Jamal Nasrallah

Can the UN solve Syria’s humanitarian disaster?

After finally passing its first resolution on the Syrian crisis late last week, the United Nations Security Council has now turned its attention to the humanitarian crisis now unfolding within the country…
An unspeakable loss. EPA/Franco Lannino

Italy ignores real cause of Lampedusa refugee tragedy

The latest in a “succession of true slaughters of innocents”. This is how Italian president Giorgio Napolitano described the incident in which hundreds of migrants, mainly from Eritrea and Somalia, died…
Both sides of politics are in a race to the bottom in the mistreatment of asylum seekers. EPA/STR

Julian Burnside: Alienation to alien nation

I had a conversation with Tim Costello some years ago which significantly changed my way of seeing things. He told me of a time when he was running the Collins St Baptist Church. A guy who had been sleeping…
Taking sides: medical targets in Syria threaten medical neutrality. Dominic Lipinski/PA

Preventing medical help has become a new form of warfare

New York Times columnist Nick Kristof recently nominated Syria as the world capital of human suffering. He has a point. It’s not just the bombs, bullets, and now gas rained down upon the civilian population…
More than half of Syria’s refugees are children. Oxfam International

The world needs to plan for long-term Syria refugee crisis

A new city rises up in the Jordanian desert. Zaatari is now “home” – at last count – to 144,000 Syrians. The numbers are scarcely credible. One million child refugees; two million exiles in total; another…
The intractable asylum seeker issue has dominated Australian politics like no other recently. Where will it play most in the coming election? AAP/Paul Miller

Stop the votes: the seats where the asylum issue resonates most

The vexed issue of asylum seekers arriving by boat on Australian shores has dominated our political psyche for over a decade. Prime minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement shortly after returning to office…
The Coalition’s has proposed to return to temporary protection visas to clear the backlog of asylum seekers awaiting processing in Australia. AAP/Steve Lillebuen

Back to the future on temporary protection visas

For me, the TPV is a prison. Our life is without hope, or purpose. The simplest thing that a person wants in his life is hope. Without hope, life is meaningless. - Iraqi temporary protection visa holder…

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