Champions of Change: Australia’s Hysteria


Posted by: Jane Hodge

Posted date: April 13, 2013

Top image by JH, ‘The Immigration Process’, as part of the Refugee Art Project – www.therefugeeartproject.com

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) recently released its latest report on the number of asylum applications lodged in the 44 industrialised countries that provide statistics to the UNHCR. The 2012 report, recorded the second highest number of applications worldwide this decade with 479,300 asylum applications lodged – a global increase of 12.5%. The High Commissioner for Refugees, António Guterres, noted that asylum claims lodged in industrialised countries were only a drop in the ocean compared to the levels of displacement experienced closer to the regions of conflict:

In most cases people seeking refuge from conflict choose to remain in countries neighbouring their own in hope of being able to return home (an example is Syria, where the figure of 24,800 Syrian asylum claims in industrialised countries compares to more than 1,100,000 registered Syrian refugees currently in neighbouring countries).

Although Australia experienced a rise in asylum applications, the total number of applications registered in Australia in 2012 was a modest 15,800 compared with the 355,500 claims received in Europe and the 103,900 received in North America. As information and research from Australia’s commonwealth parliamentary library shows, since 1999–2001, when Australia last experienced a surge in boat arrivals during the Howard Government, irregular maritime arrivals (IMA’s) lodging asylum claims have consisted primarily of people from Afghanistan followed by Iraq, Iran and Sri Lanka. However, Australia has not shouldered a significant amount of asylum flows from these countries—much higher numbers of asylum seekers from these countries have gone to the UK and other destination countries. In fact, as Guterres notes, none of the industrialised countries, Australia included, shoulder a significant amount of asylum seekers compared to the developing countries neighbouring most of the world’s conflict zones. The vast majority of asylum seekers are hosted in countries such as Pakistan, so the burden of assisting the world’s asylum seekers and refugees actually falls to some of the world’s poorest countries.

So what does this tell us about Australia’s hysteria around receiving 3% of the industrialised worlds asylum applications? (3% take note, is the amount of applications lodged, not the amount of visas granted). What this tells us is that other industrialised countries, and many more poor developing countries, take many more asylum seekers than we do in Australia, and that they deal with the situation much better. Take Sweden for example, who accepts nearly 3 times the number of asylum seekers per year than we do in Australia. In Sweden asylum seekers are welcomed, are assigned their own case worker and lawyer, are allowed freedom of movement and work rights, are allowed to live with friends or family, and are provided financial support and a housing allowance, all whilst their claims are processed in a maximum of 3 months. Sweden, it seems recognizes asylum seekers for what they are; everyday humans like you and I fleeing persecution.

What can we take from news reports like Gemma’s Jones’s Daily Telegraph with front page headlines screaming “Asylum Handouts: Julia’s Boats Baby Bonus”? Firstly that they are blatantly disingenuous. Gemma’s article refers to only one woman who was offered childcare help, and who subsequently rejected the offer. Secondly, it would be inhumane to think that someone held in an Australian facility for no legal reason is denied much needed health care.

What can we discern from the fact that Australia does not indefinitely detain convicted terrorists who ASIO has found planned acts of violence in Australia, but it does detain indefinitely asylum seekers who have not committed any act but “based on a predictive judgement that they might pose a security risk” ASIO has given them an adverse assessment? In this case ASIO itself has not stated that this treatment is required, it is our Government who has made this decision.

What these examples demonstrate is that the hysteria surrounding asylum seekers in Australia is unjustified. In Australia we are not being ‘flooded’ or ‘overun’ by asylum seekers, and the fact that other countries can deal with much larger numbers when Australia is struggling, is our politicians fault, not the fault of asylum seekers. What these examples highlight is that this current hysteria is being manufactured by our media and our politicians – who in ‘othering’ and dehumanising asylum seekers are able to poise them as a ‘threat’ to Australia’s sovereignty which they can appear to be ‘defeating’. What the last couple of months of community processing have demonstrated, is that it is possible for asylum seekers to live in the community without their neighbours being the least bit perturbed. It seems the real threats in this debate are Australian constituents who are both xenophobic and gullible enough to buy into the hype.

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Don’t Understand Asylum? Can’t be Bothered Researching? Must be a Conspiracy.

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The results of a 2 minute Google search:

“In some cases, a person may not be a refugee, but may nevertheless face significant human rights abuses, such as torture, if returned to his or her country of origin. If an asylum seeker is found not to be a refugee, DIAC will assess whether he or she meets complementary protection criteria – that is, whether he or she is owed protection under the ICCPR, CAT or CRC. If a person is found to be owed complementary protection, and satisfies health, identity and security requirements, he or she will be granted a protection visa.”

http://humanrights.gov.au/

“The majority of the world’s refugees live in countries bordering their own. Some refugee camps can hold hundreds of thousands of people, in conditions that are, at best, very difficult. For the six million refugees in what UNHCR classifies as “protracted situations”, the average length of time spent in a refugee camp is 17 years. Food and water supplies are unpredictable and refugees are often not allowed to leave or work outside the camp. Violence, especially rape, is common.

A growing number of refugees are unable to reach refugee camps or seek asylum in areas where there are no camps. UNHCR estimates that more than half of the world’s refugees live in urban areas, while around a quarter live in camps.”

http://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/

“During mass movements of refugees (usually as a result of conflicts or generalized violence as opposed to individual persecution), there is not – and never will be – a capacity to conduct individual asylum interviews for everyone who has crossed the border. Nor is it usually necessary, since in such circumstances it is generally evident why they have fled. As a result, such groups are often declared “prima facie” refugees.”

http://www.unhcr.org/

“When you “seek asylum” you are asking the Australian government to give you asylum so that you do not have to return home. If you are in danger in your home country you can seek asylum to stay here in Australia by applying for a Protection visa. You are an asylum seeker in Australia if:

  • You are in Australia
  • You believe you are a refugee
  • You are applying for protection to the Australian government so that you can stay here

If you are in Australia and you think that you are a refugee then you can seek asylum by applying for a Protection visa to the Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC). If you are not a refugee then you will not be able to get a Protection visa. There may be other visa options which are better for you or it may be better for you to return home. You should get help from a registered migration agent to decide whether you are a refugee and whether to apply for a Protection visa. A registered migration agent can also help you to prepare your Protection visa application.”

http://www.asylumexplained.asrc.org.au/

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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/

“Refugees from Iraq have increased in number since the US-led invasion into Iraq in March 2003. An estimated 1.6-2.0 million people have fled the country. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees estimated in a report released in November 2006 that more than 1.6 million Iraqis had left Iraq since March 2003, nearly 7 percent of the total population.”

http://en.wikipedia.org/

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  • Between 152,280 – 192,550 civilians have died and more will die in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan as a result of the fighting at the hands of all parties to the conflict.
  • The armed conflict in Pakistan, which the US helps the Pakistani military fight by funding, equipping and training them, has taken even more lives than the conflict in neighboring Afghanistan.  The conflict in Pakistan nonetheless receives less coverage in the US news.
  • The United States is at war in Yemen.  During 2012, the Obama administration has quickened its pace of drone strikes in the country with more than 20 US airstrikes over a span of five months.   An increasing number of drone strikes target individuals whom the administration suspects have links to terrorist groups but whom policymakers view as leaders of factions striving to gain territory in Yemen’s internal conflict. [1] According to one very conservative estimate, one fifth of those killed in drone strikes are civilians.
  • Putting together all of the war’s dead, our moderate estimate is that 313,890 have died.  These totals include US and allied uniformed troops, US contractors, national military and police in the war zones, civilians, opposition forces, journalists, and humanitarian and NGO workers.
  • Indirect deaths from the wars, including those related to malnutrition, damaged health infrastructure, and environmental degradation, may far outnumber deaths from combat. While these deaths are difficult to count, a 2008 survey estimates a ratio of four indirect deaths to one direct death in contemporary conflicts. This would put the mortality figure at five times the civilian direct death toll (193,000), meaning that  approximately 965,000 civilians have perished on account of the war.
  • Millions of people have been displaced indefinitely and are living in grossly inadequate conditions.  As of January 2012, the number of war refugees and displaced persons —7,394,248– is equivalent to all of the people of Connecticut and Oregon fleeing their homes.
  • The wars have been accompanied by erosions in civil liberties at home and human rights violations abroad.

http://costsofwar.org/

Seriously bogans… A 2 minute Google search. How about you continue the search?

The Australian Defence Force Continues To Produce Racist Scum of the Earth

This piece of shit Australian Defence Force representative is a national embarrassment. How can we possibly continue to justify our presence in Afghanistan and other parts of the Middle East when time after time, hate-filled racist oxygen-thieves bring the entire ADF reputation into question?

In Afghanistan, as I understand it, the majority of the work of the ADF nowadays is in peace-keeping and re-building, with combat with insurgents less of a focus. But this S-bend blockage of a human has no issues posting pictures of Afghan children and publicly calling them ‘little afganie (sic) fuck heads’, and all that and more for the adult Afghan citizens.

Add that to his sickening public Facebook profile with some racist ‘jokes’, references to ‘niggers’, photos of him being drunk from drinking Jim Beam and of course the trademark black suit/black shirt/coloured tie/heavily gelled hair combo that’s synonymous with bogan fucktards, and we’ve got yet another antibogan post that not one media outlet in Australia give two shits about.

Shame, shame, shame Chris Woodson. There are so many good men and women in our defence forces and you put shit on them with your disrespectful, shit-for-brains ways.

Schoolboy was beaten ‘for being a Muslim’

Rachel Olding, Saffron Howden
September 23, 2011

Hamid Mamozai

Assaulted ... Hamid Mamozai. Photo: Channel Ten

A SCHOOLBOY from Sydney’s north was brutally bashed and verbally abused by more than 20 students for being Muslim, the boy has claimed.

Hamid Mamozai, 15, was allegedly hit up to a dozen times by two fellow students at Asquith Boys’ High School on Wednesday as several more cheered and hurled racial abuse from the sidelines.

”[They were saying] hit him more, hit him more, he deserves it, you terrorists, go back to where you came from, go blow something up,” Hamid told Channel 10.

He said he was kneed in the face four of five times and hit up to 15 times in the face.

Hamid was taken to hospital unconscious and with internal bleeding but suffered no serious injuries.

Najia, Hamid’s sister, said he had been subjected to racial abuse at the school for up to two years and was ”emotionally and mentally sick” because of it.

”The boy is scared … he doesn’t get out of the house,” she said.

His mother, Hosna, who fled war-torn Afghanistan 20 years ago, said she had repeatedly complained to the school to no effect.

”I just want to know why this is happening, why the principal doesn’t care that students are being bullied, why don’t they stop it? I want other parents to know why this is happening,” she said.

Asquith Boys’ High declined to comment last night.

In response to inquiries from the Herald, a spokesman for the Department of Education said one student had been suspended for 20 days and the police had been informed.

Teachers provided immediate assistance to Hamid and called his family and an ambulance when the incident occurred, the spokesman said.

Hamid and his family have been offered counselling and the school has arranged to meet with Mrs Mamozai this morning.

”Racism is not tolerated by Asquith Boys’ High School, which disciplines students engaged in such behaviour and supports students subjected to it,” the spokesman said.

”Disciplinary action has been taken against students who have previously used racist language to the injured student. Due to the police investigation, it is inappropriate to comment further on the incident at this stage.”

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