I heard that Uganda took in 6 million refugees recently…we have 14 or 15 wanting to come in on a boat and it makes national news…we need to get over ourselves ! Here are some stats –
They [boat people] make up less than four per cent of people who come to Australia seeking asylum, yet never fail to generate an astonishing political and media storm.
So here are some facts: more than 96 per cent of asylum seekers arriving in Australia step off planes, not boats. Furthermore, the vast majority of boat arrivals are typically found to be genuine refugees – those fleeing for their lives and safety, not simply seeking better lives in wealthier nations. Far from being “illegal immigrants” they are exercising the right to seek asylum under international law.
Yet right now our Government is actually considering paying Indonesia, a country which has not signed the UN Convention on Refugees, to swoop in on people desperately seeking refuge in Australia before we’ve even had a chance to hear their claims.
In Indonesia, this group of asylum seekers, including a pregnant woman and several children, will be placed in immigration detention until they are processed by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Despite financial assistance from the Australian Government and the International Organisation for Migration, Indonesian detention centres are over-crowded and under-resourced.
Asylum seekers in Indonesia face arbitrary and indefinite detention until the UNHCR processes their claims. Amnesty International is concerned that the UNHCR has limited capacity in Indonesia and asylum seekers may be forced to spend extended periods in detention while waiting to apply for refugee status.
Refugees in Indonesia do not have the right to work, send their children to school and have no recourse to a more permanent status. Their only hope of a durable solution is to be selected for resettlement to a third country through the UNHCR, a process that can take more than six years.