Refugees

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However hard we pursue happiness, when the party’s over we must still confront the grimmer aspects of life. Shutterstock/YanLev

Is a cult of happiness leading us to lose sight of life?

We can pursue our own happiness to the exclusion of the real world, but how meaningful can that be? Far better to engage with life and both the happiness and sadness it brings along the way.
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.
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.
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.

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