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asylum seekers in australia


81 Iranians told ‘No place in Australia’

The Australian government has told 81 Iranian asylum seekers that they will not be allowed to settle in Australia.

The people who arrived by boat at Christmas Island over the weekend are coming to the realisation their dangerous journey has been futile.

The 81 Iranians were told by the Immigration authorities they would not be able to settle in Australia, based on new asylum processing arrangements urgently announced on Friday.

In the message delivered at North West Point Immigration Detention Centre (NWP IDC) at Christmas Island, they were told of the new arrangement between Australia and PNG.


This is the first vessel to berth at Christmas Island after the changed policy was announced. As per the new policy, people who arrived without a visa would not be allowed to live in Australia.  Instead, they would be sent to Papua New Guinea and settled there, the Australian Prime Minister said.

Australia plans to send these people to PNG’s Manus Island, beginning with single men and later including women and children, The Australian reported.

Department of Immigration and Citizenship acting regional manager Steven Karras said the new arrivals listened calmly to the message.

“In this case, the message we did give them was quite clear, in terms of where they will be processed and I think that probably sank in a bit,” Steven said.

He said a number of the clients said if they’d known the rules had changed, they wouldn’t have come to Australia on a people smuggler’s boat.

“It was apparent to me that they did understand what this message meant,” he said.

“I’m sure they’re now thinking about whether it was wise to come in the first place.

“And I think in fact over the coming days…they will start to contemplate very seriously whether in fact returning home is a better option.”

Immigration Work Abroad

New Zealand seeks power to detain asylum seekers

A country with a good track record of implementing positive refugee policy is set to become more stern towards asylum-seekers – a proposed move that is already attracting criticism.

New Zealand faces an ongoing risk of a mass arrival of illegal migrants, says a policy statement in the Immigration Amendment Bill.

“People-smuggling is a global criminal enterprise and people-smuggling networks in Southeast Asia and elsewhere are large and growing. People-smuggling operations based in Southeast Asia have arranged ventures to as far afield as Canada, so New Zealand’s comparative geographical isolation does not guarantee it will not be a target in future.”

The Bill aims to make New Zealand “as unattractive as possible to people-smugglers” and if passed, will allow for the mandatory detention of illegal migrants of up to 6 months and further periods of detention for up to 28 days with court approval. It also empowers the government to suspend “the processing of refugee and protection claims by regulation”.

However, New Zealand’s Human Rights Commission says the proposed changes threaten New Zealand’s obligations under the UN Refugee Convention and potentially lack compliance with the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990.

The Commission is particularly concerned about the introduction of mandatory detention under group warrants, the restrictions on family reunification,  and the changes to review processes.

Race Relations Commissioner Joris de Bres says New Zealand has obligations under the Refugee Convention that are separate and independent of the country’s voluntary quota of 750 refugees as part of its annual resettlement quota on behalf of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

New Zealand has obligations as a party to the Refugee Convention to:

  • ensure that people who meet the United Nations definition of refugee are granted asylum
  • not to impose any penalties on an asylum seeker based on their mode of entry to New Zealand (Article 31).

“How an asylum seeker arrives in New Zealand should have no bearing on their right to apply for refugee status and protection,” says de Bres.

Mandatory detention on the basis of group warrants also raised issues of reasonableness and ultimately could amount to arbitrary detention breaching section 22 of the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, the commission says.

“New Zealand must protect the human rights of all asylum seekers and refugees who arrive in New Zealand, regardless of how or where they arrive, and whether they arrive with or without a visa,” says de Bres.

The changes were described as “an over-reaction” by Professor Max Abbott, director of AUT University’s Centre for Migrant and Refugee Research.

“Copying aspects of the harsh Australian approach to asylum seekers will damage New Zealand’s positive reputation in refugee and humanitarian matters. It is unlikely to act as a deterrent and could drag asylum and refugee issues into a highly charged political arena that will be socially divisive and destructive.”

The Australian treatment of ‘boat people’ through mass detention under harsh conditions has tarnished that country’s reputation and been an embarrassment to fair-minded Australians, says Professor Abbott.