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Zero Chance Campaign

The '#ZeroChance' Campaign is Australia's latest initiative to prevent maritime arrivals. The campaign directed mainly at those coming from Sri Lanka has existed for two years now and has been criticized.⁣

#SriLanka has one of the highest numbers of missing people worldwide. Especially with the end of the civil war in 2009, there had been large numbers of Sri Lankans vanishing. This war had been fought between the #Sinhalese-dominated government and the 'Liberation Tigers of #TamilEelam' (LTTE). Moreover, although it is over, the Sri Lankan government still tracks and persecutes the people of the #LTTE. However, from the Australian perspective, Sri Lanka is safe for them: asylum seekers are rejected, placed in offshores, and sent back to their unsafe homes.⁣

The 'Zero Chance' Campaign aims to prevent Sri Lankans from 'illegally' traveling to #Australia by boat. Therefore, questionable methods are used. Sri Lankan Australians were asked to produce material, that prevents others to flee 'illegally.' This happened by film competitions, interviews and digital games. The competition should showcase that there is zero chance of 'Illegal Migration to Australia' by boat. It was awarded money, a GoPro, and more.⁣

Rhianne Jeyakumar, an international development professional, states that this leaves the feeling "that the government's approach of tempting Sri Lankan filmmakers with flashy toys not only invalidates the experience of those who have previously fled persecution and harm but also spreads a harmful and dangerously misinformed narrative surrounding those seeking asylum." The centre director of the Refugee Advice and Casework Service in Sydney, Sarah Dale, comments that she is "shocked and disgusted that we would convert a person's journey seeking safety into something as nonsense as the #PacMan game."⁣

Instead of this campaign, Australia should present alternate and fairer pathways for people seeking asylum. These Sri Lankans immigrate 'illegally' because they see no other option than leaving their home and because they do not have enough resources to go the legal way. The campaign targets the wrong end of the chain.

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