Australia’s Refugee Hot Potato
Despite its reputation as a beacon—however imperfect—of multiculturalism in the Asia Pacific region, Australia has increasingly come under scrutiny for its asylum policies, which make it nearly impossible for refugees to find haven in the country. International outrage has grown over more than a decade as an evolving set of agreements and restrictions have made the country’s practices increasingly less transparent and, some advocates argue, more inhumane.
Rejection of refugee-carrying vessels, offshore processing, indefinite detention, poor conditions in detention centers, and questionable legal maneuverings have caused humanitarian monitors to sound the alarm, questioning Australia’s commitment to international human rights laws. The most recent development in Australia’s ever-evolving asylum-seeker drama has involved an agreement with the U.S. to take those currently held in offshore detention on the island of Nauru, but the election of Donald Trump has introduced uncertainty into a situation already defined by precarity.
“Offshore detention: Australia’s recent immigration history a ‘human rights catastrophe’” (The Guardian)
“The Nauru files: cache of 2,000 leaked reports reveal scale of abuse of children in Australian offshore detention” (The Guardian)
“Refugees in Australia’s remote camps offered US resettlement” (AFP via Yahoo! News)
(Image Credit: Dean Lewins/AAP, via The Guardian)