Friday, 28 October 2016

"A poisonous refugee policy", New York Times, 27 October

Waleed Aly accepts, without question, all the criticisms by Amnesty International of Australia's asylum-seeker policy. But he refutes, without evidence, all Australian government rebuttals. ("A poisonous refugee policy", International New York Times, 27 October). 
Amnesty charges that Australia's offshore detention of asylum seekers "amounts to torture". Aly is there to assure us that our government's denial of such torture is just so much farrago. 
I've read the Amnesty report. Am I surprised that the answer to their question of asylum seekers --  "are you being tortured?" -- was "yes"?  
Color me cynical, but no, I'm not surprised. It's been well documented that refugee groups worldwide understand the power of torture charges. 
Still, even Amnesty and Aly accept that the offshoring of would-be asylum seekers to Australia has resulted in a complete stop to human trafficking to Australia and the end of refugee deaths at sea. 
Surely that's a strong positive for our current policy. 
If there's another policy that would maintain these gains and better assist would-be asylum seekers, perhaps Amnesty or Aly would tell us. So far neither Amnesty nor Aly have favored us with their wisdom on such a policy. 
Peter F