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

 

Russian Hack Job?: White House - Actions In Response To Russian Malicious Cyber Activity & Harassment

President Obama authorized a number of actions in response to the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election in 2016. More>>


Israel/Palestine: Michael Field - Background To How Israel Nearly Went To War With New Zealand

New Zealand and Senegal managed to get the United Nations Security Council to pass resolution 2334 which said Israel’s settlements in Palestinian territory violate international law and undermine a two-state solution in Israel's conflict with Palestine. More>>

ALSO:


US Indigenous Affairs: How President Obama Has Protected Our Sacred Land

I am very proud to be both Navajo and American. As the President of the Navajo Nation, I’ve dedicated my life to ensuring that, as a Navajo, my story -- and our stories -- are part of our collective American history. Today, I want to share one of those stories with you. More>>

Binoy Kampmark: The Berlin Truck Attack And The Refugee Question

The hard-nosed neo-cons were certainly showing little interest in linking arguments, examining evidence, or even considering elementary logic in the aftermath of the Berlin truck attack near the Gedächtniskirche. With the bodies fresh in the morgue, former US ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, peered into the mind of the everyday German, and found teeth chattering fear. More>>


Demonetisation: Gordon Campbell On India’s Huge Socio-Economic Experiment

Without much coverage at all in the West, India has just been engaged for the past few weeks in one of the world’s biggest socio-economic experiments since the Cultural Revolution in China. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Death Of Fidel Castro

New Zealand likes to think we played our part – via the 1981 Springbok tour – in bringing the apartheid regime in South Africa to an end… Jacob Zuma treated the death of Fidel Castro at the weekend as an occasion to pay a heartfelt tribute to the thousands of Cuban soldiers who travelled across the world to inflict the first significant military defeat on the forces of white supremacy. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The US Election Home Stretch

Once again at the business end of a US election, the result will hinge on the same old bits of geography as always: the Five Crucial Counties in Ohio, the Two Crucial Counties in Pennsylvania and the I-4 Interstate Corridor in Florida that runs from Tampa Bay through Orlando to Daytona Beach. More>>

ALSO:

Meanwhile:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news