AND LIES ABOUT ASYLUM SEEKERS
December 28 2001
is a synopsis of a paper
produced by the Edmund Rice Centre for Justice and Community Education, Sydney,
and the School of Education at the Australian Catholic University. It was
distributed to Uniting Church Clergy late in 2001. I have added some comments of
my own. (On December 28 2001 this article was posted at http://www.erc.org.au/issues/text/se01.htm)
The page following this contains more myths and comment.
1: Boat people are queue jumpers.
How can you have queue jumpers when there are not any queues to jump.
There is no Australian diplomatic representation in Iraq and
Afghanistan. We do support the group of nations that oppose the regimes
and support sanctions against them! Few
countries between the Middle East and Australia are signatories to the 1951
Refugee Convention so such asylum seekers are forced to continue to
travel to another country to find protection.
2: Asylum seekers are illegal.
Not true. Under Australian law and international law a person is
entitled to make an application for refugee asylum in another country when
they allege they are escaping persecution. Article
14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states: "Everyone has the
right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution." People
who arrive on our shores without prior authorisation from Australia with no
documents, or false documents are not illegal. They are asylum seekers a legal status under international law.
are people who overstay their visas. The vast majority of these in Australia
are from western countries, including 5000 British tourists.
whole point of the Australian Government's despicable handling of the Tampa
Affair was to prevent the people reaching Australia, so they could not make
refugee applications. The government essentially admitted the fact that
it is legal for people to come. Jan)
3: Australia already takes too many refugees.
Australia receives relatively few refugees by world standards. In 2001
Australia will receive only 12,000 refugees through its humanitarian program. This
number has remained static for three years, despite increasing
numbers of refugees worldwide. Australia accepted 20,000 refugees each year at
the beginning of the 1980s.
4: We're being swamped by hordes of boat people.
300,000 refugees arrived in Europe to seek asylum last year. Only 4174
reached Australia by boat or plane. In
2000, Iran and Pakistan each hosted more than a million Afghan refugees.
5: They're not real refugees anyway.
97% of applicants from Iraq and 93% of applicants from Afghanistan seeking
asylum without valid visas in Australia in 1999 were recognised as genuine
refugees. Therefore, under Australian law they were found to be eligible to
stay in Australia. Overall
84% of all asylum seekers are found to be legitimate refugees.
They must be 'cashed up' to pay people smugglers.
The UNHCR says that payments made to people smugglers range from
AU$4000 to AU$5000. Many families and communities pool their resources in an attempt to
send their relatives to safety.
There is no alternative to mandatory detention.
Australia is the only
Western country that mandatorily detains asylum seekers whilst their claims are
If we let them in, they'll take our benefits.
Refugees, like migrants, create demand for goods and services, stimulate the economy and
generate growth and employment. A recent
UCLA study has shown that unauthorised immigration boosts the US economy by $800
billion per year.
Edmund Rice Centre has more myths posted at Debunking
More Myths (December 27 2001.)
Go to our NEXT PAGE for more comment
Myths and Lies