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Refugee Crisis Printable Version PRINTABLE VERSION
by Yvonne Shao, Australia Apr 20, 2002
Peace & Conflict , Human Rights   Opinions


I would just like to say that Australia has clearly not provided enough humanitarian assistance to recent refugees. One example I can use is the Tampa incident where the Australian government turned away 400 refugees stranded at sea. The asylum seekers from poor and war-ravaged countries were marooned in the Indian Ocean, living in over-crowded, unsanitary conditions aboard a Norwegian container cargo ship. The Howard government took an unprecedented, life-threatening decision to refuse to allow the refugees to land and even demanded that Indonesia—one of the poorest and most populous countries in the world—accept the Tampa refugees. After already being at sea in a leaking boat for 10 days before being picked up by the Tampa, four of the refugees were unconscious, others were suffering dehydration, diarrhoea and scabies, one had a suspected broken ankle and two women were pregnant.

According to Amnesty International, Australia is no longer a leader in promoting human rights. Amnesty International said that Australia was denying the asylum seekers their basic human rights. Australia’s human rights record is at a record low. Amnesty suggests the government's policy was breaching its obligations under international law, particularly in relation to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, of which Australia is a signatory.

“Amnesty International urges the Australian Government to honor and fulfill its international law obligations to process all refugee claims and to find alternatives to mandatory detention especially for children," it said.

It disturbs me that the Australian government plans to slash the number off-shore refugees just because of increasing numbers of Asylum seekers arriving in Australia by boat. Australia has been at the front of international criticism about the treatment of recent refugees. All over the world there are groups campaigning for change. They are attempting to bring to the attention of the governments that what is at stake is the survival and basic rights of human beings. Dignity for asylum seekers is not negotiable and must be upheld because human rights have no borders. Refugees will not disappear simply because we do not accept them.



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Yvonne Shao

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We will always stand by them.
gsaidm | Nov 6th, 2002
just as i have a right to live, everybody should have access to that right as well. What Australia is doing now is completely wrong. The people of Australia should take an action to resolve this issue and also it is the responsibility of the world as a whole to put pressure on the Australian gov. If that issue is not resolved, the consequences will be greater. To me, as long as the Howard's gov is in power, nothing will be done about it or let's say the situation will change from bad to worse.

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