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

 

Iraq: Grave Crimes Committed On 'Unimaginable Scale'

Members of an ethnic Yezidi family sleep in the shade in Shekhadi village, Iraq, after fleeing Sinjar. Photo: UNHCR/N. Colt More>>

Lesotho: Concern About Reported Military Takeover In Lesotho

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced concern on Sunday about the reported military takeover in the southern African nation of Lesotho, and called on all parties to resolve their differences peacefully. More>>

ALSO:

Ban Ki Moon:Alarmed At Israel's Announced Seizure Of West Bank Land

1 September 2014 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today voiced his alarm at the announcement by Israeli authorities to declare nearly 1,000 acres of land in Bethlehem as so-called “state land.” More>>

Ebola:Response Based On ‘Scientific Evidence, Not On Fear'

Ebola Response Must Be Based on ‘Scientific Evidence, Not on Fear,’ Urge Top UN Officials More>>


UNHCR: More Than 300 Die In Boat Tragedies On Mediterranean

The past few days have been the deadliest this year for people making irregular crossings on the Mediterranean from North Africa to Europe More>>

UN: Egyptian Crossing Used To Bring Food Aid To Gaza
United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) successfully crossed from Egypt into the Gaza Strip today, carrying enough food to feed around 150,000 people for five days More>>

ALSO:

Extended Cease Fire: Gaza Celebrates!!!!

Images and video from Gaza.Scoop - Julie Webb Pullman in Gaza. Gazans took to the streets tonight to celebrate their victory in achieving the end of hostilities and the lifting of the illegal seven-year siege. Whatever tomorrow may bring, tonight was a time to rejoice! More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news