Aus-NZ Refugee Statement: NOT How a Regional Solution Looks
Aus-NZ Refugee Statement: NOT What a Regional Solution Looks Like
The Refugee Council of New Zealand has been asked to comment on the announcement today in Queentown by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and New Zealand Prime Minister John Key that our Government is accepting 150 refugees held in detention camps.
“This is certainly not the first time the New Zealand has generously bailed out the Australians from the consequences of their disastrous policies of locking up asylum seekers in detention camps,” says RCNZ spokesperson Gary Poole.
“We refer to the 2001 resettlement of the children and young people who survived from the Tampa boat sinking off Australian waters. Those young people have become success stories and outstanding Kiwis.”
Respite for the 150 hapless refugees who have been suffering in Australian detention camps will be welcomed as a friendly gesture, but RCNZ understands that this number is within the 750 annual UN humanitarian quota intake.
RCNZ has questions about whether this 150 will displace some of the urgent high protection cases in the already very limited 750 quota systems. The other concern is about whether this move is simply enabling the Australian Government in its folly to persist in failed policies and inhumane practices.
“The recent UN report on the conditions at Manus Island have led to worldwide condemnation of the Australian practices. Their policy of mass detention has clearly failed and not a single people-smuggler or desperate asylum seeker has been deterred by it. New Zealand should learn from them what not to do and avoid following down the same slippery slope”
“The ultimate and enduring solution to people-smuggling is a regional solution. What has been announced at the Queenstown summit is not at all what a regional solution looks like. A regional solution would consist of New Zealand taking a diplomatic leadership role in persuading Malaysia and Indonesia to sign on to the
UN Refugee Convention. In order to be persuaded, the governments of those countries would need to be assured of a high level of support for rapid processing of asylum claims and housing asylum claimants until their cases are determined.
Tangible support from Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific regional community would help Malaysia and Indonesia sign on which would eliminate people-smuggling and stablise the irregular migration situation permanently. It would be a positive and enduring solution to end the terrible failed policies and practices being presently carried out in Australia.