During a break in the Committee hearing today, I managed to meet up with a group that works hard on finding viable solutions for refugees in all parts of the world. I was pleased to see that they had read the recently tabled Senate Committee report and its recommendations into changes that should be made to the way the Migration Act is administered. They also had some ideas about which ones were most important to pursue.
There is still ample evidence of widespread injustice and unnecessary suffering of refugees and asylum seekers at great economic and social cost. There is also growing public recognition of this. The big question is to determine what issues should be focused on next to bring about more immediate relief for those suffering acutely now, or to get more structural, long-term reform which is the only way we can get a fair and workable set of laws back in this areas.
The last 2 refugees still marooned on Nauru are a case in point. Only two people, when there are so many others who need help and so many new issues that need attention. However, those two are amongst the most isolated and marooned pair in the world. Rejected due to an ASIO security clearance, which neither they or anyone else has been told the substance or basis of. Normally if they were detained in Australia, at least they could get that assessment reviewed by an independent body, but Australia still refuses to provide that.
There are efforts being made to find another country who will take them, although it’s a bit hard to see much chance of success in ringing up a country and saying “Hi, we have two refugees that we can’t take because they’re security risks. Do you want them? No sorry, can’t tell you what the security risk is either.” As they have been assessed to be in serious danger in Iraq, sending them back there isn’t an option either.
But surely leaving them to rot on Nauru, with almost no support people now being provided to them, cannot be an option either?! You can read more details about them on this website which is dedicated to their plight. I have met these guys during my visits to Nauru. I can only imagine what they must be going through and how they will cope. This article in last weekend’s Age newspaper by Michael Gordon, the journalist who has given most time to the plight of the refugees transported to Nauru, tells a pretty clear picture of what they are facing.
Still plenty of work to do.