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And although the poor are often the victims of persecution, middle-class and wealthy people are persecuted too.In fact, because these people tend to be well educated, they are often persecuted for speaking out against oppressive government regimes.
We signed an international law called the Refugee Convention. According to the Australian Department of Immigration and Border Protection, in 2012-13, 25,091 asylum seekers arrived by boat, more than 8,308 arrived by plane, 2,813 visa overstayers were detected, 2,328 immigration clearances were refused at air and seaports, and 15,077 other ‘unlawful non-citizens were discovered in the community. Since 2003, only 42% of all asylum seekers have arrived by boat.They don’t look particularly battered, bruised and hungry. Although the Refugee Convention says they must come directly from a territory where their life or freedom is threatened (as opposed to ‘skipping through’ a country like Indonesia), the 2001 Geneva Expert Round Table organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees concluded that: Refugees are not required to have come directly from territories where their life or freedom was threatened…Article 31(1) was intended to apply, and has been interpreted to apply, to persons who have briefly transited other countries or who are unable to find effective protection in the first country or countries to which they flee.” (p.2, 10b, 10c) Because Indonesia hasn’t signed the Refugee Convention, they’re not obliged to protect asylum seekers.It’s not necessarily because they don’t have It’s also important to remember that a passport isn’t the only possible form of identity.Most asylum seekers have other forms, like birth certificates, drivers licences, school certificates, letters from local priests and photocopies of identity cards.It says they have to have a well-founded fear of persecution at home.
Out of interest, here’s a photo of some Jewish refugees who fled to Australia at the end of World War II (courtesy of The Australian).
And according to the Advertiser, that doesn’t even include all the illegals who fly in and are caught in the first two weeks. But as you can see below, the number of boat arrivals tend to go up and down. Plus, they can immediately apply for a protection visa, and are typically given a bridging visa while their application is processed.
In other words, history tells us it will go down again after the current spike. Boat people, on the other hand, are immediately moved to a detention centre, and they can’t immediately apply for a protection visa.
As a result, asylum seekers who arrive in Indonesia live in constant fear. There’s no law that says refugees must flee to the nearest country.
In most cases, this would simply land them in a poverty-stricken, dangerous refugee camp for years.
9 out of every 10 ‘boat people’ are eventually found to be genuine refugees. Some come to Australia, some go to other countries. That’s why countries like Kenya and Ethiopia have huge refugee camps (because of trouble in neighbouring Somalia).