The ABC is reporting that the United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned the Australian Government that the Malaysian refugee swap deal may result to “arbitrary and unlawful detention under international law.”
Australia is saying they will go ahead with the deal anyway, and are currently looking for a third country to take refugees. I’m very disappointed with this news, as we are very clearly saying “we don’t care about international law.” Considering that its international law that governs human rights, and how we treat asylum seekers I’m worried that we may set a precedent for us to do worse things to asylum seekers.
The basic idea that I push for is humane treatment of all people. Asylum seekers have every right to claim asylum in Australia however they arrive here. When they do that, they have the right to have that claim assessed, and it should be done in a timely manner.
At the moment, asylum seekers are detained indefinitely, with no knowledge of when they will find out whether their claim is successful or not. That is similar to the police detaining you in a maximum security prison because they suspect that you have stolen a loaf of bread, and they will keep you in prison without charge until they are satisfied that you didn’t steal that bread.
If that scenario was happening, we would be outraged. yet it is happening every day to asylum seekers, detained in maximum security prisons for claiming asylum from persecution.
Make sure foreigners and orphans get their just rights. Don’t take the cloak of a widow as security for a loan. Don’t ever forget that you were once slaves in Egypt and God, your God, got you out of there. I command you: Do what I’m telling you.
Deuteronomy 24:17-18 (The Message)
- Asylum seekers held ‘unlawfully’ (theage.com.au)
- Human rights abuse in Australian Immigration Detention Centre’s (iranianasylumseeker.wordpress.com)
- Asylum seekers set sights on the land of the long white cloud (theage.com.au)