Asylum seekers

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Transfield Services Chief Executive Operations Kate Munnings during the Senate inquiry into recent allegations relating to conditions and circumstances at the regional processing centre in Nauru. AAP/Mick Tsikas

Grattan on Friday: Nauru detention centre needs its own Ombudsman

Australian taxpayers are providing Transfield Services with $1.2 billion over 20 months to operate the detention facility on Nauru.
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.
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.
Indonesians are sensitive about issues of respect for their nation and its sovereignty, as protests at Tony Abbott’s linking of aid with calls for clemency showed. EPA/Bagus Indahono

Bali Nine response must manage power shift in Indonesian relations

Indonesians have long felt that Australia lacks respect for their nation's sovereignty, but Indonesia's status as a rising power adds to the urgency of recalibrating our approach to the relationship.
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.
Survival capsule used by Australia to return asylum seekers from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan to Indonesia. Himawan Nugraha/EPA

Would Australia’s asylum seeker policy stop boats to Europe?

What would it mean if the European Union decided to "get Australian" and adopt a tougher approach to asylum seekers? Could it work, and at what cost?
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.
AAP/Antonio Melita

Zones of peace and turmoil

More than 20 years ago, two American academics, Max Singer and Aaron Wildavsky, wrote about what they described as The Real World Order: Zones of Peace/Zones of Turmoil. As is the way with such things…
‘A dramatised event is no replacement for the horrors of what is really going on.’ AAP Image/NewZulu/Nicolas Koutsokostas

The ‘refugee telemovie’ shows our government is lost at sea

The government has announced its latest method to stop the boats: a telemovie with storylines about asylum seekers dying at sea. Is it really the role of government to fund propaganda pieces like this?
The capacity for compassion is with us from birth, but as a community we have lost sight of the value of treating all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. AAP/Julian Smith

Australia, a nation in need of compassion-focused therapy

A global movement aims to let compassion guide political and community life. This has obvious relevance for a competition-driven nation with a troubling capacity for harsh attitudes and policy.

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