Articles on Refugees

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A crew of people smugglers have alleged that an Australian official paid them to return a boatload of asylum seekers to Indonesia. AAP/Customs

Is it an offence if Australians pay people smugglers to turn back?

If Australian officials did pay off people smugglers, has the government effectively joined the people smuggling trade? Has it broken any laws?
These Rohingya women and children, rescued by fishermen in Aceh, are among thousands in need of resettlement. EPA

Australia can do better on Asian boat crisis than ‘nope, nope, nope’

A summit in Bangkok is discussing the fate of thousands of people who were stranded at sea. Australia is represented but refuses to resettle any refugees, casting doubt on its commitment to a regional solution.
A boat carrying 450 people from Myanmar and Bangladesh is inspected by Thai Navy officers in the Andaman Sea. EPA/Royal Thai Navy

Are those fleeing persecution and impoverishment so very different?

The political rhetoric would suggest that asylum seekers are deserving and economic migrants are undeserving. Yet their motivations overlap and are complex – forced migrants do not fit easily into one category.
Rohingya refugees from Myanmar travelled in this fishing boat to Sumatra, Indonesia, with officials announcing some 2000 people were rounded up or rescued after arriving in Malaysia and Indonesia over the weekend. EPA

Pushed offshore, the ‘boat people’ crisis demands regional response

Australia may have 'stopped the boats' but the tragedy of people drowning at sea continues to our north and is getting worse. A regional solution to the refugee crisis is urgently needed.
The great Australian success story of Frank Lowy and many others like him would not have happened had Australia not accepted penniless refugees. AAP/Dean Lewins

Australia should not auction off migrant places to highest bidders

The problem with auctioning immigration places is that it puts the focus on short-term revenue-raising, rather than immigration’s more important medium- to long-term nation-building role.
Most of the migrants desperately crossing the Mediterranean from Africa are refugees. EPA/STR

Without immigrants, none of us would be here

The migration of early Africans into the Middle East, then across the Mediterranean into Europe and Asia – and eventually into the Americas and Australia and the Pacific Islands – is the origin of today’s humanity.
New Zealand citizen Kadhem Chilab Abbas paid with his life by answering Iraq’s call to arms against Islamic State. One News

Death of Kadhem Abbas highlights the dilemmas of migrant life

The death of a New Zealand citizen who returned to Iraq has led some to query his status as a refugee. We need to be clear about what it means to be granted asylum and the rights of citizenship.
Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott are firm advocates of human rights when Australians are executed but not when asylum seekers are involved. AAP/Lukas Coch

Hard line on refugees undermines principled opposition to execution

In condemning Indonesia's execution of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran, Australia has relied on the same human rights obligations that it rejects when applied to asylum seekers.
A refugee displays an image of one of his three children who drowned when the boat on which the family fled the war in Syria sank in the Mediterranean. EPA/Pete Muller

Something vital is missing from EU’s 10-point plan to stop deaths at sea

Political leaders have a ready culprit in people smugglers for drownings at sea. The problem is that this ignores responsibility for eliminating all other options for these people to avoid harm.
Foreign ministers Julie Bishop and Mohammad Zarif demonstrated a growing rapport between Australia and Iran in reaching agreement on some but not all fronts during her visit to Tehran. EPA

Ms Bishop goes to Tehran: a story of good news and bad news

Australia made progress on restoring trade and sharing intelligence on Islamic State in Iraq. Iran was less open to accepting the return of asylum seekers, which may prove a blessing in disguise.

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