Susan Metcalfe nails the lie at the heart of Abbott's gambit to reintroduce the Pacific Solution and TPVs to the asylum seekers landscape in Australia. An excerpt from her article in today's Age follows:
"This week, the UNHCR made its position clear on the past Nauru policy, as it has many times before: ''The Pacific Solution, including the use of Nauru, was a deeply problematic policy, both as a matter of principle and for those refugees and asylum seekers affected by it.''
In spite of this, Liberal senator Simon Birmingham said on Sky News that the detention centre on Nauru had been ''overseen and approved'' by the UNHCR, and the Nauruan government continues to claim that the camps operated ''under the auspices of UNHCR''.
A UNHCR spokesman said: ''UNHCR was not involved and, indeed, distanced itself from any role in overseeing or managing the processing facilities on Nauru under the Pacific Solution. Recent media reports that the centre on Nauru was approved by and run under the auspices of the UN are factually incorrect.''
Nauru is a country with a record that doesn't match the governance expectations of most Australians."
This country was sold a dud by Howard when his government set up the Nauru facilities. I have posted many messages on the miscasting of aid to Nauru and elsewhere under the PS and the alarming 'somnambulism' of the Australian people as these events unfolded. I have been critical of Australia's fourth estate for largely failing to expose and condemn Howard's approach to refugee rights. The profound negative implications of the Howard experiment for the health of Australia's body politic will be the subject of much reflection in the coming years.
We see the profound negative implications continuing to play out in the Coalition's shoddy posturing on asylum seekers. Along the way Australian officialdom has bribed, bullied and coerced a desperate failing state in a cynical, mercenary gambit to host our offshore detention facilities, without the slightest interest in a regional solution or one that actually improved the plight of refugees. At least the Labor Govt is trying to operate within a regional framework that engages all the interested parties. The Coalition are not interested in a regional solution but only seek to wedge the Government politically.