Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Asylum seekers in Australia - Coalition strategy of warehousing refugees in Indonesia comes home to bite Labor - an opportunity presents itself!

The Coalition Govt turned itself inside out to leverage Indonesian support for the idea of 'warehousing' asylum seekers in Lombok and other places. Unfortunately for Labor our erstwhile govt did not bother to properly resource the UNHCR and the IOM to manage the Indonesian processing of refugee claims humanely, efficiently and expeditiously.

Now that Rudd is looking to build on the Howard govt approach, taking a more systematic and humane approach to the processing problem, elements within the Indonesian establishment are 'arking up' at the prospect. They have seen Australia dump the problem on their laps before, but with little compensation and support.

Rudd has an opportunity to change the construct through adequate resourcing of the lead agencies and the Indonesian authorities. It is vital that a compassionate approach is taken to detention, enabling asylum seekers to retain their dignity and well-being whilst awaiting decisions on their future.

Australia must model best practice in this area, ensuring the provisions of international legal instruments and human rights conventions are followed to the letter. This can be a win/win for asylum seekers and the respective processing authorities. Australians interested in seeing their govt do the right thing should lobby their local members of parliament and the Minister for Immigration. Do not be conned by the rhetoric of the Coalition as they have no credibility on this subject.

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