Govt and global repsonses to refugeesPresentation Transcript
Australian Deterrence Policies
Global trends increase due to conflicts in Sri Lanka and Pakistan Fall of South Vietnam. Vietnamese asylum seekers Conflicts in Afghanistan and the Middle East Iraqi war. Conflict in Middle East From South China and Vietnam Cambodian
Migration Zone Excisions 2001 One of the strategies the Australian Government has put in place since September 2001 for dealing with the arrival of unauthorised people by boat is the excision of islands around northern Australia from the migration zone. The Government claims this deters people from making the trip and frustrates the activities of people smugglers, thus protecting and controlling Australia's borders.
What is this? Excised offshore places are areas under Australian jurisdiction and authority which are excised from Australia's migration zone. They include Christmas Island, Ashmore and Cartier Islands and the Cocos (Keeling) Islands. These northern islands are still part of Australia but do not have the same migration or residency laws. A person arriving at one of the excised islands has no right to apply for an Australian visa, and can be expelled to another jurisdiction or even another country—a policy much criticized by refugee advocates.
CHRISTMAS ISLAND ASHMORE AND CARTIER ISLANDS COCOS ISLAND
Offshore Entry Person Any person without a visa in Australia is known as an unlawful non-citizen A person who has become an offshore entry person (arriving at an excised area) is not allowed to apply for any visa at an excised offshore place or anywhere else in Australia. If however an assessment of an offshore entry person finds that they are in need of Australia’s protection, the minister will lift the bar on making a valid visa application and they will be allowed to validly apply for a Special Humanitarian Visa. They are however, assessed differently to onshore persons, and are not able to access the same legal representation.
Why were islands around Australia excised in 2001? What is the name to given to someone who arrives without a visa? How many boats arrived in 2000, in 2001? How does excising parts of Australia contradict the Refugee Convention 1951? Use the table below, to provide an argument for the success of this policy
Successful? Between 2001 and 2007, Australian taxpayers spent more than $1 billion to process less than 1,700 asylum seekers in offshore locations – or more than half a million dollars per person. There was a significant drop in arrivals after 2002. However there was a drop in applications around the world. UNCHR figures15 showed that in the five years to 2006, applications to developed countries more than halved and the global refugee population had decreased by a third. Between 2001 and 2006 Canada and the United States experienced a 47 per cent decrease in asylum seeker numbers and Europe experienced a 54 per cent decrease over the five year period. It establishes a two-tiered system under which asylum seekers are treated differently based on their place and mode of arrival. Asylum seekers arriving in excised offshore places are barred from the refugee status determination system that applies under the Migration Act. Discrimination?
Mandatory Detention According to Australia's migration law, 'unlawful non-citizens' must be detained until they are granted a visa (pursuant to a refugee claim or some other category) or are removed from the country. Mandatory immigration detention for unauthorised arrivals was introduced by the Keating Government in 1992 under the Migration Amendment Act 1992. It was said that detention would facilitate the processing of refugee claims, prevent de facto migration and save the cost of locating people in the community. Currently, when unauthorised boat arrivals are intercepted in Australian waters, the passengers are transferred to Christmas Island in order to establish their reasons for attempting to enter Australia without authority. If a government official determines that an individual is raising claims which may engage Australia’s protection obligations, the asylum seeker will be assessed under the Protection Obligations Determination (POD) process in place on Christmas Island.
Financial cost $2 BILLION The cost of detaining asylum seekers only — that is, removing costs for deterrence and anti-people smuggling activities — totals just over $2b since 2000. During that period, just over 18,000 people have arrived by boat. That means taxpayers have spent about $113,000 simply to detain each asylum seeker, on average, across the period.
The main nationalities of detainees since 2000 are: Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian, Chinese, Indonesian, Sri Lankan, Palestinian, Korean, Vietnamese and Bangladeshi This legislation ensured that asylum seekers arriving in Australia without prior authorisation could be detained for unspecified and prolonged periods of time. The longest period of time any person has been detained in Australia is 7 years. The UN Human Rights Committee has consistently found the mandatory detention regime to breach basic human rights standards. http://www.sbs.com.au/shows/goback/listings/detail/i/5/article/8391/Middle-Eastern-Journey-Tutorial-1
Discuss the issue raised in the cartoon. To what extent do you think this cartoon reflects the current state of Australia’s mandatory detention policy? Note: Woomera was closed in 2003
Evaluation In 2004 a report was published, A last resort? The report of a national inquiry into children in immigration detention, which was highly critical of the mandatory detention of children. The inquiry found that ‘Australia’s immigration laws, as administered by the Commonwealth, and applied to unauthorised arrival children create a detention system that is fundamentally inconsistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The inquiry further found that children in long term immigration detention were at risk of serious mental harm and that failure to remove children from detention together with their parents constituted cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment. The Migration Amendment (Detention Arrangements) Act 2005 came into force on 29 June 2005 - a softening of immigration detention policy, including the release of families with children into community detention arrangements.
NEGATIVE SOCIAL IMPACTS Detainees held in offshore locations often bear the brunt of the policies through poorer mental health and general well-being, both in the immediate and longer term. Higher costs borne by the broader Australian community as a result of having to integrate people who have been damaged by prolonged isolation in offshore processing centres. Longer processing times in more isolated locations tend to hinder the integration of asylum seekers when they do finally resettle in Australia, and often cause loss of skills and livelihood opportunities and hence a heavier reliance on community and government care.
BOAT PEOPLE 'MORE LIKELY TO BE GENUINE REFUGEES' A recent report states thatboat people are more likely to be recognised as refugees than asylum seekers who arrive by air. It says: "Arguably Australia is worrying about the wrong asylum seekers. Whereas the majority of those arriving by boat are refugees, the majority of those arriving by air are not". Past figures show that between 70 and 97 per cent of asylum seekers arriving by boat at different times were found to be genuine refugees, and were granted protection either in Australia or in another country. According to figures by the Refugee Council of Australia, in 1998-99 approximately 97 per cent of Iraqi and 92 per cent of Afghan applicants - the majority of which arrived by boat - were granted refugee status and given permanent visas. More recent figures show that of the 1,254 claims assessed on Christmas Island between July 2009 and January 2010, only 110 people were found not to be genuine refugees.
UNHCR Global response Refugees do not have a right to be resettled, and states are not obliged under the 1951 Refugee Convention or any other instrument to accept refugees for resettlement. It is a voluntary scheme co-ordinated by the UNHCR which, amongst other things facilitates burden-sharing amongst signatory states. Resettlement therefore complements and is not a substitute for the provision of protection to people who apply for asylum under the Convention. The UNHCR estimated that 747 000 refugees would be in need of resettlement in 2010, but only around 79 000 places are offered annually by the resettlement states.
There is no orderly queue for asylum seekers to join. Only a very small proportion of asylum seekers are registered with the UNHCR and only 1 per cent of those recognised by the UNHCR as refugees who meet the resettlement criteria are subsequently resettled to another country. As the overall number of asylum applications has continued to rise, states are increasingly taking responsibility for refugee status determination. Only about 20 developed nations, including Australia, participate formally in the UNHCR’s refugee resettlement program, the vast majority of asylum seekers and refugees are hosted in developing countries.
Settlement Issues The settlement experience for many refugees can be a very difficult time with feelings of homesickness, isolation and culture shock compounding people’s abilities to start a new life in Australia. Many refugees have experienced extremely traumatic pasts before being resettled. They have often experienced high levels of poverty, low levels of formal education, suffered from the effects of torture and trauma and have low levels or no knowledge of English. Their day to day existence previously may have been in a refugee camp. Many may have never rented a house, paid a bill, gone to work or have had any concept of engaging with institutions such as banks, real estate agents or government departments. Significant settlement issues include: - high unemployment- housing issues- English language barriers- effects of torture and trauma- general health issues
Australia & Resettlement Since 1996, Australia has linked the resettlement and humanitarian categories, leaving some of the annual quota for resettlement of refugees unfilled in case asylum seekers arrive in Australia. In such a case, an individual who made it to Australia would ‘take’ a place originally set aside for resettlement of a person “waiting in line” outside Australia. This new approach is the background of the myth of the asylum seeker as “queue jumper”.
The Australian Government has a range of services to support resettled refugees, however these are provided by community agencies. These services aim to provide refugees with the support and assistance required to rebuild their lives and become fully functioning members of the Australian community. However, different visas are offered different services. For example, Special Humanitarian visas are not able to access the full range of services. Refugees selected to resettle in Australia undergo a cultural orientation program prior to moving From the beginning of the program in 2003 to the end of December 2010, more than 2100 courses have been conducted in Bangladesh, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, India, Iran, Jordan, Kenya, Lebanon, Malaysia, Nepal, Pakistan, Romania, the Republic of Congo, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Syria, Tanzania, Thailand, Turkey, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, assisting more than 39 000 people.
Future patterns Myra White argues that as global conflict escalates and refugee numbers rise, destination countries globally should be focusing more on refugee resettlement measures and less on border control “Human displacement is growing – but rich countries are shutting the doors to refugees. More and more people displaced by violence get stuck in their own countries or in poor countries that cannot offer any perspective of an acceptable life. Violence and forced migration are not the result of unrelated catastrophes, but are integral parts of a global order based on inequality, discrimination and exploitation.” Professor Castles. What will the distribution map look like…..