Magna Carta & refugees

My favourite memory of the Magna Carta involved a group of refugees who had recently arrived in Australia after spending years being kept in the detention centre on Nauru. I’d visited them while they were incarcerated in Nauru, where they were uncertain of their future – not knowing how long they would be locked up or where they might end up, and under repeated pressure from the Australian government of the day to go ‘back home.’ After much suffering (not to mention great financial cost), their refugee claims were eventually recognised and the Howard government allowed them to settle in Australia.

When some of them settled in Canberra, I took the chance to take a group of them on a tour of Parliament House and see a sitting of the Senate – the place of much debate over the treatment of refugees such as them. Whilst they were being shown around parts of Parliament House by one of the excellent tour guides who work there, we were taken to one of the four known copies of the 1297 version of the Magna Carta which is on permanent display there. Without a hint of irony, the tour guide told the assembled group of refugees (including interpreter) that the Magna Carta was a historic document because it guaranteed under our system of law that people could not be jailed without charge or trial.

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  1. Maybe in the 1200’s the ‘refugees’ would have been classed as ‘invaders’?

    There was also such a thing as being ‘outlawed’.. that is not protected by the law.

    I think the changed situations and thinking (800 years is a long time in human history) must be taken into account in your thinking.

  2. I came to Australia as a Refugee…I thank Paul K for my arrival to this beautiful land… and God for my luck…

  3. 1. Differentiate between genuine refugees, such as those brought in under our Humanitarian immigration program, and fake ‘refugees’ who pay people smugglers to help thieves and fraudsters pose as ‘refugees’.
    2. Re “people could not be jailed without charge or trial”, explain ‘remand’ within our justice system.

    The attempted appropriation of the word ‘refugee’ to describe illegal immigrants by the pretentious poseur Left has been nothing but damaging to the cause of genuine refugees. Utter shame upon you.

  4. Hi Paul

    The people I described in this post were most definitely refugees by any legal or rational use of the term.

    In regards to the concept of remand, that usually is deployed in regards to people who have been charged with an offence. Again, it doesn’t apply and isn’t relevant in regards to the refugees I have written about here, who despite being locked up for 3+ years, were never charged with (or even accused of) any offence.

  5. Just a little hint of irony there, Australia’s treatment of refugees or asylum seekers is just disgusting, from both sides of politics, people need to be free to leave to without be punished.

  6. I totally agree with you eireytvme I hear someone mention boat people’ I think oh no not again. What has happened to our sense of humanity, society and the concept of walking a mile in another man’s shoes? We help create the wars and then close our doors to people when they are trying to escape the horrors we are contributing to.And don’t even get me started on detention centres. If we can’t process people fast enough then the government should put on more staff and resources for better systems, etc. Isn’t Australia the only country in the world that keeps children in detention centres?

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