World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


Manus and Asylum Seekers: The Case for a Nonviolent Response

28 February 2014

Manus and Asylum Seekers: The Case for a Nonviolent Response

The death of a 23 year old asylum seeker and injuries to over sixty others on Manus Island are the inevitable consequences of a policy of violence based on bullying and brute force to arrest, detain and humiliate vulnerable and weak people.

The present government’s policy runs counter to the UN Refugee Convention and our international legal obligations, is an abuse of human rights and an affront to ideals of a common humanity. No asylum seekers are illegals. All merit a nonviolent response to their efforts to escape persecution and oppression.

A nonviolent policy initiative would include on shore processing of applications and the management of the special needs of traumatised asylum seekers by experienced, professionally trained and carefully chosen caseworkers. The goal would be to assist those found to be refugees to become productive members of the community as quickly and efficiently as possible. That policy should include a human rights education programme to explain to the public the world wide dimensions of the refugee tragedy, plus explanations as to where people seeking asylum in Australia have come from and why they are fleeing.

Yet instead of nonviolence, the major political parties have engaged in a race to the bottom to demonstrate who is the toughest, who the most intolerant. The present government has opted for a policy aimed at frightening asylum seekers who contemplate turning to Australia for help and punishing those who still try by sending them to one of the most dangerous countries on the planet. Our pugilistic Prime Minister would have it that anyone who objects to this institutional mistreatment of others is a ‘wimp’.

Further, these policies have been sustained by extraordinary secrecy. They are being justified on the basis that, as the provocatively named Operation Sovereign Borderssuggests, we are under attack and on a war footing. That proposition is both shameful and ridiculous.

The events on Manus Island should make all of us think again about principles of human rights and the philosophy of nonviolence. Those principles and that philosophy should underpin our response to asylum seekers from wherever they come and by whatever means they come.

If arguments based on the rule of law and common decency can be dismissed as “moral blackmail”, another angle should be considered: Given this government’s commitment to fiscal responsibility and budget reduction, why not deploy its battalions of productivity analysts to compare the billions of dollars spent on the current asylum seeker policy with costs of a nonviolent alternative?

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ebola Cases Reaching Record Low

Highly contaminated waste is removed from an Ebola Treatment Unit and carried with caution to a disposal area, where it will be fed into an incinerator that burns it into ashes. Photo: WHO/R. Sørensen More>>

South Sudan: Pervasive Violence Against Healthcare

Juba, South Sudan, July 1, 2014 - Violence in hospitals and the destruction of medical facilities are denying medical services to many of South Sudan 's most vulnerable people, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) said today in a report, South Sudan Conflict: ... More>>

ALSO:

  • UN News - UNESCO chief denounces killing of journalists in South Sudan
  • Increasing Demand For Refined Products Will Increase Prices

    In last week's article I posted a chart from the International Energy Agency'srecent Oil Market Report that shows global demand for refined products catching up to supply by the 3rd quarter of this year. My opinion is that all of the analysts who are now ... More>>

    ALSO:

    Terrorist Attack On Hotel In Libyan Capital

    27 January 2015 – The United Nations Security Council today condemned in the strongest terms the deadly terrorist attack against the Corinthia Hotel in Tripoli, Libya, and underlined the need to bring the perpetrators, financiers and sponsors of such ... More>>

    ALSO:

    Malawi In Urgent Need After Intense Flooding

    Torrential rains in Malawi have caused dozens of deaths, with hundreds of people still missing. Photo: UNDP/Arjan van de Merwe More>>

    Lack Of Funding Hampering Aid To Syria

    Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Kyung-wha Kang briefs the Security Council on the situation in Syria. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe More>>

    Spy Agency CSE Is Monitoring Our Private Online Activities

    Breaking - Spy agency CSE is monitoring our private online activities on a massive scale and sharing sensitive data with other governments More>>

    UN ‘blue Helmet’ Killed Near Lebanon-Israel Cross-Fire

    28 January 2015 – A United Nations peacekeeper with the UN Interim Force in Lebanon ( UNIFIL ) was killed today near the border with Israel but the precise cause of death is as yet undetermined and remains the subject of investigation, according ... More>>

    ALSO:


    Get More From Scoop

     
     
     
     
     
    World
    Search Scoop  
     
     
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news