Refugees: The Alternative to Cruelty
18 February, 2016
Room 2A6, University of Canberra
UC Refugee Action Club
Consecutive Australian governments have argued that cruel and punitive policies towards asylum seekers are necessary for border protection, to "break the people smugglers' business model", and more recently to prevent drownings at sea.
Making good on their promise to be tough on asylum seekers, the government has locked thousands of desperate men, women and children away in remote detention centres on Manus Island and Nauru, where physical, mental and sexual abuse are widespread.
Earlier this month the government won a challenge in the High Court regarding the legality of offshore detention, paving the way for the imminent deportation of 267 asylum seekers to Nauru, including 33 babies born in Australia. The move has been condemned by many respected human rights bodies, including the Australian Human Rights Commission and the UN Refugee Agency. Numerous churches across Australia, including in Canberra, have gone as far as to offer sanctuary to those facing deportation, even if it results in being charged.
This talk will cover some of the fundamental aspects of Australia's refugee policy, provide an outline of what a humane alternative policy might look like, and suggest ways in which students and staff can get involved in the campaign for change.