PM’s asylum-seeker policy fails to deter boats

September 11, 2012

REFUGEES from Afghanistan and Pakistan are still arriving in Indonesia en route to Australia despite the Gillard government’s ”no advantage” policy and the introduction of processing on Nauru.

The news suggests the policy is not a deterrent to asylum seekers leaving the war-torn South Asian countries.

It also contradicts the line from Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare that the recent influx of boats from Indonesia represented a ”closing-down sale” by people smugglers.

More asylum seekers arrive at Christmas Island.More asylum seekers arrive at Christmas Island. Photo: Sharon Tisdale

An Afghan refugee living in the town of Cisarua, south of Jakarta, told The Age yesterday that only days ago a new group of refugees had arrived after flying in from the city of Quetta in Pakistan.

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”They are coming little by little. Four days ago, 20 people came to Jakarta airport,” said refugee Alemzadeh, who is in Cisarua waiting for a boat to Christmas Island.

”They know [about the new policy], but they don’t stop. They say it’s too dangerous to stay in Pakistan.”

New policy and Nauru’s processing centre have not dissuaded desperate people seeking refuge in Australia.New policy and Nauru’s processing centre have not dissuaded desperate people seeking refuge in Australia. Photo: Sharon Tisdale

Alemzadeh said for perhaps 15 days after the government’s policy was announced, the influx from the war-torn regions had stopped, but it had now resumed.

The recent drowning of more than 100 Hazara asylum seekers had also not deterred them.

”Everyone knows [about the drowning], but … they say ‘When I go back to my country, I am sure that Taliban or al-Qaeda or the other agents of the Taliban will detain me, kill me’,” he said.

”I’m sure, 100 per cent sure, that the Taliban will kill me. But if I go, maybe I wait to get to Australia, maybe one year, two years, to Nauru island. The Australian government does not kill you.”

Alemzadeh said, however, that his friends no longer wanted to give money to people smuggler Haji Ghulam, who organised the most recent boat that sank.

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Filed under Asylum Policy, Human Rights and Refugee Activists, PNG/Pacific Solution

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