The IEU reaffirms its opposition to the current treatment of asylum-seekers by the Australian Government. Read our full statement here.
The IEU urges all political parties and Members of Parliament to stop using policies regarding asylum seekers to foster misunderstanding, social division and distrust, and instead use it as an opportunity to get on with the job of fulfilling Australia's commitment under the Refugee Convention to treat people humanely, process applications for asylum onshore, and promote the better treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in our region.
The IEU calls on the Australian Government to abandon off-shore processing altogether and to reform Australia's stance on asylum seekers in line with our international obligations.
The IEU calls for:
• Both major political parties to respect and acknowledge that neither indefinite detention nor sending asylum seekers to uncertainty in other countries can be presented as a just or credible response to the needs of people seeking refuge and protection in Australia.
• The Australian Government to take leadership and reframe the national debate about refugees and asylum seekers, explaining that the majority of people who have entered Australia by boat seeking asylum have been found to need protection from persecution, and therefore that the vulnerability of asylum seekers must be a primary consideration in any government response to people movement.
• The Australian Government to immediately move to process all asylum seekers onshore. Following initial detention for preliminary health and security checks, a detention that should be capped at one month, after that, while their refugee status is being determined, they should be released into the community on conditions that will ensure that they remain available for processing and (if necessary) removal. They should be allowed to work and live in dignity., Detention beyond the initial processing should only occur in exceptional circumstances.
• The Australian Government to enable Australia's community sector to support and resettle people humanely and effectively, as an appropriate, sensitive and least expensive solution to Australia's humanitarian responsibilities, instead of spending substantial funds deporting people overseas and building facilities offshore,
• The Australian Government to increase our refugee and humanitarian intake in the region. Increasing Australia's intake of refugees from the region is one of the most effective, economic and humane ways to respond to people smuggling.
• The Australian Government to continue to work towards a regional solution to the plight of people seeking asylum. Australia should build on the progress in recent years to work with governments in Asia-Pacific and beyond to work towards fundamental change to the treatment of asylum seekers and refugees in the region.
• The Australian Government to immediately cease detention of asylum seeker children under 18 years of age, noting the psychological harm being caused to already traumatised children and families as a consequence of current detention arrangements.