Refugees and asylum seekers

Understanding and acknowledging:

  • Paragraph four of the refugee convention preamble states that “the grant of asylum may place unduly heavy burdens on certain countries, and that a satisfactory solution of a problem of which the United Nations has recognized the international scope and nature cannot therefore be achieved without international co-operation.”
  • Further to the above, in 2014 there were more than 50 million forcibly displaced people worldwide, no country on its own has the capacity or ability to support such large populations; appropriate international logistics, support and assistance are required for existing populations in source, transit and hosting countries.
  • The distinct contextual and situational difference between the role of a refugee hosting country, and a resettlement country.
  • Our geographical context: Australia is an isolated maritime resettlement country 10,000+ kilometres from conflict zones; refugees accepted for resettlement will do so permanently.
    Hosting countries are much closer to or share a land border with source countries; host countries refugee population is expected to be relatively temporary as refugees are accepted for permanent resettlement elsewhere, or return home if conditions are safe.
    Comparing resettlement numbers with hosting numbers is not comparing apples with apples.
  • That the nature of seeking asylum often prevents people from obtaining ID. Whether someone is unable to obtain their ID, or purposely discarded it en-route, the 30 day processing rule suggested by some incumbents is not practical or possible.
  • Resettlement comes at a cost, involving requirements for security and immigration clearances, housing, education, health, utilities and sanitation, linguistics, culture, religion, social integration and associated factors.
  • Humanitarian situations are dynamic in scope and scale.
  • Large scale humanitarian problems which were not created over night can’t be fixed overnight – there is no silver bullet.
  • Entities and individuals will engage social engineering to engage known public perception for their own outcome, indicating more interest for their own agenda rather than a positive outcome for the people affected.

Review domestic and international legislation, guidelines and policy to:

  • Provide resettlement numbers based on our environmental, economic, social and demographic capacity.
  • Discourage people from engaging with criminal entities for known dangerous maritime journeys on unsafe boats which are known to result in tragedy.
  • Be actively involved internationally through appropriate mechanisms to provide safe, efficient, practical, secure, affordable solutions to such a large scale, long term and complex humanitarian problem.
  • Clarify the intention and application of the systems available for, and used by, refugees and asylum seekers.
  • Assist with providing better communication, legal and other mechanisms in source, intermediary and destination countries to effectively, safely and securely manage humanitarian movements.
  • Enact remedies and penalties for any entity or individual who knowingly provides misleading, inaccurate or incorrect information:
    • and who knowingly create adverse financial, health, safety or legal situations for themselves and those who interact with them.
    • for use in systems intended for asylum seekers and refugees applications processing; the refugee convention exists to provide protection for people fleeing persecution, it is not a conduit for economic gain:
      • UNHCR Master Glossary of Terms: “Migrants (Economic): Persons who leave their countries of origin purely for economic reasons not in any way related to the refugee definition, or in order to seek material improvements in their livelihood. Economic migrants do not fall within the criteria for refugee status and are therefore not entitled to benefit from international protection as refugees.”

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