Asylum seekers

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Lawyers and asylum seeker advocates are concerned that the Border Force Act will have a ‘chilling effect’ on whistleblowers working in detention centres. AAP/Eoin Blackwell

Border Force Act entrenches secrecy around Australia’s asylum seeker regime

The Australia Border Force Act further entrenches the culture of secrecy around our asylum seeker policy at the cost of open and transparent government. That is something we should be worried about.
Former Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa says Australia’s turnbacks policy is “incompatible with good bilateral relations”. EPA/Jose Sena Goulao

Turnbacks remain an irritant in Australia-Indonesia relations: former foreign minister Natalegawa

Former Indonesian foreign minister Marty Natalegawa has called out the Abbott government over its attempt to shrug off any cost to the bilateral relationship caused by the unilateral manner of its boat turnbacks.
Persecution based on a person’s sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex variation is recognised as a legitimate ground for seeking refugee status. AAP/Terry Scott

Out of the frying pan and into the fire: the plight of LGBTI refugees

It is estimated that there are 175 million LGBTI persons living in persecutory environments worldwide. Only around 2500 asylum claims founded on sexual orientation or gender identity are successful annually.
The Brotherhood of St Laurence’s ‘Given the Chance’ program enables asylum seekers and refugees to demonstrate their skills and loyalty as employees. Brotherhood of St Laurence

‘Very loyal’ productive workers: the same people we fear as refugees

Seeking asylum from persecution is a right and people who do so are not "illegals" under the law. Yet refugees are portrayed in negative and threatening terms in Australia, while positive stories are ignored.
The Abbott government has hid asylum policy behind ‘operational matters’ since it took office – starting with then-immigration minister Scott Morrison in 2013. AAP/Paul Miller

Boats secrecy leads to bad policy without democratic accountability

The withholding of information about government actions in asylum seeker policy undermines its democratic accountability to the Australian people.
Tony Abbott highlighted the importance of Indonesia knowing that the Australian government is ‘absolutely resolute’ on stopping the boats. AAP/Tracey Nearmy

Abbott gives no ground to Indonesia in bribe allegation row

The government goes into the parliamentary session’s final fortnight on the back foot over two highly contentious issues: its citizenship legislation and Indonesia’s demand to know whether Australia paid…
Tony Abbott wouldn’t say whether ‘by hook or by crook’ included paying thousands of dollars to turn back a recent boat bound for New Zealand. AAP/David Moir

Abbott won’t say whether Australia paid people smugglers to turn boat around

Tony Abbott declared on Friday that Australia stopped the people smuggling boats “by hook or by crook”. What Abbott wouldn’t say is whether “by hook or by crook” included paying thousands of dollars to…
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?
Myanmar has carried out discriminatory policies against the Rohingya for decades. Nyunt Win/AAP

Between the devil and the deep blue sea: the Rohingya’s dilemma

Despite international pressure, Myanmar’s government intends to continue the decades-long program of discriminatory policies against the Rohingya that denies them their human rights.
Governments and international organisations should find an effective solution for the Rohingya refugee crisis. EPA/STR

Refugee crisis meeting should learn from Indochinese solution

Representatives meeting to discuss South-East Asia's migrant crisis may learn from the previous refugee crisis that hit the region during the Indochina war.
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.
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.

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