25 September 2007


The seventy-two Sri Lankans who have been detained on Nauru for more than six months have now been recognized as genuine refugees.

Despite this finding they face the prospect of indefinite detention on Nauru because of the Australian Government’s policy which refuses to allow them to be settled in this country. Instead the government will seek to persuade a third country to accept them. This is likely to prove difficult given that other countries already have their ‘own’ refugees and because given that they were picked up by the Australian Navy in the Indian Ocean the refugees are seen as Australia’s responsibility.

The situation has been condemned by critics of the harsh and expensive so called ‘Pacific solution’ such as the Refugee Council of Australia and A Just Australia.

Nevertheless rather than being shamed by the exposure of its selfishness and lack of compassion, government spokesmen continue to defend the policy on the grounds that it is effective in deterring those fleeing persecution from seeking asylum in Australia.

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