Fleeing Hope: A Lonely Portal to the Unknown
Let them in! Send them back where they come from! They will only ruin our economy! These phrases are frequently used to describe the boat people also known as Asylum seekers. Many come and go but what happens to them? Who is ‘them’ and what do they want? Australia’s boarders are breached by people known as the boat people but they are refugees fleeing from their country hoping to find a new life style of living. According to the United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees, as amended by its 1967 Protocol (the Refugee Convention), a refugee is a person who is outside their own country and is unable or unwilling to return due to a well-founded fear of being persecuted because of their race, religion and political view. Approximately 8000 refugees come each year to Australia. However only 70-90% are genuine refugees. To describe these immigrants as ‘illegal immigrants’ is just a big lie. They are called criminals, but what exactly is there crime, perhaps abandoning everything and fled a war-torn homeland in search of a new life. The government’s response to these distressed and desperate people is only to send to them to a camp where ‘processing’ can take up to 5 years. What exactly is the government doing and how can the Australian public intervene? Too often we ask ourselves ‘what would we do if I was them’ or ‘where do they come from?’ But the thing is we all have human rights. Human rights are about everyone, including people who are not Australian citizens. Some of the human rights and freedoms particularly relevant to asylum seekers and refugees include the right, not to be subjected to arbitrary detention, torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. However this is not the case at Australia’s borders. According to the government’s facts hundreds of children were held in immigration detention centres for long periods of time. One Cambodian boy was detained for five and a half...
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