Offshoring refugees in Australia

Offshore processing refers to sending asylum seekers to another nation, specifically detention centres, to submit their petitions for asylum. This strategy was initially implemented in #Australia in 2001 and later abandoned in 2008. The current approach regulating the offshore maritime arrivals to Papua New Guinea and #Nauru was reaffirmed in 2012. However, the re-election of Kevin #Rudd as prime minister in 2013 led him to expand the policy, preventing anyone who entered the country visa-less from ever settling there, disregarding the fact that refugees often cannot obtain visas before fleeing.⁣

Australian policymakers have tried to defend this detention strategy by claiming that those arriving by sea are "jumping the queue" of genuine refugees waiting to be resettled at UN and #UNHCR camps.⁣

Sending vulnerable people to offshore detention centres poses significant hazards to their well-being. These detention facilities, according to the UNHCR, are "harsh" and "#inhumane," negatively impacting the residents' physical and mental health. For example, an Iranian asylum seeker Hamid Kehazaei, who was described as a "loving son and brother," passed away on Manus Island from the septic shock that was "induced by a cascading chain of errors and systematic failings in the Australian-run offshore detention centre." Those who were deported were typically kept in a "limbo" state for years as their asylum cases were unresolved, leaving them stuck in these facilities.⁣

Australia's precedent sets a dangerous example for other nations who wish to disregard their commitments to refugees. There is no proof that outsourcing decreased the number of arrivals which actually rose in the first few weeks after its adoption. Implementing a "turn back" policy led to declines in maritime arrivals, possibly violating the core tenet of non-refoulment, forbidding states from sending asylum seekers back to areas where they have good reason to fear persecution.

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