| September 7, 2012

The arrival of three boats in the last couple of days brings the total number of asylum seekers who have arrived since 13 August to over 1600.

Nauru is already full. And the quota for Manus Island is likely to be filled in the next week or two at the most.

The government is now confronted with the reality of its Pacific Solution 2.0.

“Both in Nauru and Australia, the Labor government will be warehousing thousands of people found to be refugees but condemning them to uncapped long term detention. The government is creating the same toxic environment that led to the mass protests and fires in Christmas Island and Villawood a year ago,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.

“Hundreds of asylum seekers in Christmas Island and Darwin have now been in detention limbo for a month, while the government does nothing to actually process their refugee claims. There is no prospect of the government shifting these people for months. The anxiety is already creating tensions on the island.

“This is the tragic result of policy on the run and looking for a political fix at the expense of sensible policy and the welfare of refugees. The systematic violation of the rights of asylum seekers and refugees is a recipe for yet another epidemic of mental illness.

“There is no prospect of the boats stopping because even Nauru offers the possibility of resettlement while refugees in Indonesia are left in limbo. Even recognised refugees in Indonesia understand the best prospect of getting protection is to get on a boat.

“Merak Tamils who have been waiting for almost three years for the Australian government to make good on its promise to resettle them have still heard nothing of the government’s announcement to take 400 UNHCR refugees from Indonesia. They are left thinking their only hope is to get a boat.

“It is not the ‘people smuggler’s business model’ that is putting people on boats; it is need for protection and an enduring solution. Julia Gillard is slavishly following the failed policies of John Howard’s Pacific Solution 1.0 – but this time it has failed before it has even begun.

“The government must immediately begin processing the refugee claims of those asylum seekers who have arrived since 13 August.”

For more information contact Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713.


Category: Press releases

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