The “boat people” had been stopped stone dead by the policies of the previous conservative government so it can be done

The United Nations refugee agency says changes to Australia’s immigration policies have given people smugglers a new marketing tool.

The agency’s regional representative, Richard Towle, says there has been a large increase in boats heading to Australia. “I think the 32 boats to date is significantly more than last year, but I do think we need to keep this in a sense of balance and perspective – the statistics are not peculiar to Australia, we’ve seen very large numbers and very sharp increases across the world,” he said.

“I think perceptions of policy can certainly play a role in people smuggling. They have a product that they need to market, and to show that Australia is a place where refugees can get fair and effective refugee protection is something that is understood. “But I think we need to be careful about apologising for that. If Australia is renowned as a country that does the right thing, that offers fair and effective protection for those who need it, and requires those who don’t need it to leave the territory, then I don’t think any apology is needed.” [Except to the Australian people, who are overwhelmingly against illegal immigration!]

Mr Towle has confirmed Australia could be asked to offer asylum to more than 250 Sri Lankan men, women and children whose boat was intercepted by Indonesian authorities this week. The UNHCR says it is ready, if asked, to assist the Sri Lankans and help resettle them if they are deemed to be genuine refugees.

But Mr Towle stopped short of urging Australia to take the Sri Lankans. “As and when we find them to be refugees, if we get to that, then we’ll approach our good resettlement country partners, including Australia, to see if they can help find solutions,” he said.

SOURCE

Advertisements