Refugee Action Coalition media release 15 December 2010:
“Government anti-refugee policy is responsible for the tragedy on Christmas Island,” said Ian Rintoul, spokesperson for the Refugee Action Coalition.
“Our heart goes out to the people and their families of the asylum seekers who have lost their lives, so close to the possibility of protection.”
But the blame lies with the Australian government. If the Australian government was willing to properly process asylum seekers in Indonesia and resettle successful refugees in Australia, then far fewer people would get on boats to travel to Australia.”
“The government needs to stop pushing Indonesia to harass and detain asylum seekers. The intimidation in Indonesia is itself pushing people to leave Indonesia to find safety.
“The government also needs to drop its people smuggling laws so that boats travelling to Australian would be able and willing to notify Australian authorities of their travels and arrange to rendezvous safely.
“The government recently increased its quota of resettled UNHCR refugees from Indonesia to around 500 but as of the beginning of November only 50 had been resettled from Indonesia. No amount of talk about a regional processing centre will alter the realities for asylum seekers.
“Unless the government changes its policies and adopts a welcome refugee policy there will be more tragedies.”
“The race to the bottom on refugee policy between the Labor government and the Opposition is costing lives – inside and outside of detention. Australia urgently needs a welcome refugee policy,” said Rintoul.
For more information contact Refugee Action Coalition, Ian Rintoul 0417 275 713