Asylum outside the UK
3 February 2014
Israel's Asylum Seekers
Imagine if a prominent Member of Parliament openly declared Pakistanis a ‘cancer in our body’. Shortly afterwards, she apologises for this remark – to cancer victims. Not only does the MP keep her job, she escapes any official rebuke at all.
At around the same time, Molotov cocktails are thrown through the window of a nursery school attended by the children of asylum seekers in a poor part of London. A month later, there’s a violent riot against asylum seekers on a bloody night of looting, assaults and broken glass. Taxis and buses are stopped and searched for ethnic minorities; one of the rioters wears a T-shirt saying ‘Death to Pakistanis’; women voicing support for asylum seekers are told they should be raped; agitators make monkey noises at a group of black asylum seekers; and throughout, during the beatings and window-smashing and racist chanting, the police stand aside, looking on. After the riot, death threats are sent to an organisation that helps asylum seekers. A young Iranian man who was knifed during the riot, and spent 11 days in hospital, says that the police are doing nothing to find his attacker.
Or maybe it isn’t so hard to imagine those things happening in Britain. They have all already happened in Israel (where the majority asylum seeker populations are Eritrean and Sudanese rather than Pakistani and Iranian, as in the UK). Miri Regev, a Member of the Knesset, in May 2012 called Sudanese asylum seekers ‘a cancer in our body’ In August 2012, the then interior minister, Eli Yishai, said he wanted to make the lives of Africans in Israel ‘bitter until they leave’. In December 2013 the government submitted a court summons listing asylum seekers by identification numbers rather than by name. And this is only a tiny fraction of the violence and intimidation that asylum seekers and their supporters have been subjected to over the last few years. In a rare victory for human rights, in September 2013 the High Court overturned an amendment to the anti-infiltration law that made it possible to detain asylum seekers for three years or more, declaring it unconstitutional.
29 July 2013
Fiji attacks Rudd PNG asylum plan
Fijian foreign minister accuses Australia of dumping its problem on Pacific nations, in a scathing attack.
Fiji has accused an "arrogant" Australia of dumping its asylum seeker problem on Pacific nations, as the Rudd government prepares to send a first group of boat arrivals to Papua New Guinea for processing and resettlement under its new policy.
Seventeen boats carrying almost 1,400 people have arrived since the prime minister announced his hardline plan to banish asylum boat arrivals to PNG.
The Fijian foreign minister, Ratu Inoke Kubuabola, launched a scathing attack on the plan on Monday.
He accused Australia of using its economic muscle to persuade a Melanesian country to accept thousands of people who are not Pacific islanders into the region.
19 July 2013
Australia to send asylum-seekers to PNG
Asylum-seekers arriving by boat will no longer be resettled in Australia but will go to Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has announced.
The news came as Mr Rudd set out an overhaul of asylum policy ahead of a general election expected shortly.
Australia has seen a sharp rise in the number of asylum-seekers arriving by boat in recent months.
Following the news, rioting reportedly broke out at an asylum centre in Nauru. It was unclear if there was a link.