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)
Papua New Guinea court and PM say offshore refugee detention center for Australia to close
- The PNG supreme court ruled the Manus Island-based center, one of two offshore centers Australia funds, was unconstitutional, with some detainees having been held for more than 1,000 days.
- With only eight refugees having been resettled, PNG PM Peter O’Neill stated that Australia would have to make new arrangements for the 850 men who have been detained in the Manus center.
- Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton has reiterated that the government will not allow the asylum-seekers onto Australian soil.
“Manus Island detention centre to close, PNG Prime Minister says following court bombshell” (The Sydney Morning Herald)
“Manus Island detention centre to close, Papua New Guinea prime minister says” (The Guardian)
“Papua New Guinea Finds Australian Offshore Detention Center Illegal” (The New York Times)
(Image Credit: Ben Doherty/The Guardian)
The U.N.’s safe cities initiative integrates women’s safety into development projects globally
- The cross-sector “Safe Cities Global Initiative” aims to stem sexual violence and harassment of women in urban spaces through infrastructure and program development.
- In Delhi, mobile app Safetipin crowdsources safety reviews of public spaces and integrates GPS for personal tracking and security.
- Projects have sprung up in other cities as well, including Cairo, Port Moresby in Papua New Guinea, and Kigali in Rwanda.
“Unsafe public spaces limit women’s and girl’s life choices. This daily reality limits their freedom to participate in education, work, recreation, and in political life.”
More on this story at the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
Recent murder of woman accused of witchcraft in Papua New Guinea highlights scourge of gender-based violence in the country’s largely traditional society. More from Reuters.
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