Asylum Seekers

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Who are these People?
Asylum seekers are people who have fled their own country to seek refuge in another country whereby they apply for ‘asylum’ or rights to be recognised as genuine refugees with legal status and the assistance that it entails. Many of the asylum seekers we see crossing Australian borders are from the Middle East and Asia. Reasons for the illegal entry varies for the individual, but most commonly relates to discrimination of one reason or another, such as religion, nationality, beliefs and personal circumstances. Also a large number of the illegal immigrants are fleeing war torn countries and persecution.
Rarely do refugees have the chance to make plans for their departure: to pack their belongings, to say farewell to their friends and families. Some refugees have to flee with no prior notice, taking with them only the clothes on their backs. Others, like the family that pretends to be going on a weekend break, have to keep their plans a secret from all around them in case they are discovered.
Refugees often have little idea about where they are going. They are running away, not running to. Those who come to Australia often have little understanding about our country and the nature of our society here. They have had no opportunity to prepare themselves physically or psychologically for their new life in Australia.

According to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) several million people have been granted asylum in countries around the world and at the end of 1999 there were 1.2 million asylum applications pending worldwide, as reported by the Refugees by Numbers, 2000 edition. Under Australian Law and International Law a person is entitled to make an application for refugee asylum in another country when they allege that they are escaping persecution. Every person who arrives in Australia without a valid visa or travel document is deemed to have arrived illegally and is held in immigration detention. Detention is

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