Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Australia sends gay refugees to persecution

One of the reasons people flee shithole countries like Iran is because they are gay and face persecution. If they make it New Zealand, we recognise them as refugees and resettle them. If OTOH they go to Australia, the government sends them to Nauru - where they face further persecution and abuse:

Two gay refugees who fell in love at the Nauru detention camp say they are virtually prisoners in their home: holed up in fear for their lives after being bashed and verbally abused in a nation where homosexuality is illegal.

As Sydney prepares for Saturday night's Mardi Gras parade - an event that showcases Australia as a global model of acceptance of gay and lesbian people - the federal government is refusing to rescue the two young Iranian men it sent to a country where they could be jailed for their sexual orientation, according to lawyers.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton has so far refused to help the refugees, who say they have been repeatedly beaten, had rocks thrown at them and been called "human rubbish". His department says refugees at Nauru can accept resettlement in Cambodia.

Pretty obviously, "you can go somewhere else" is not meeting Australia's obligations under the Refugee Convention. And neither is sending them to Nauru in the first place. Sending a refugee to another country where they face further persecution is explicitly outlawed by the ban on refoulement. But its been clear for a while that Australia no longer cares about its legal obligations, let alone its moral ones. Shouldn't there be some consequences for that?

As for the specific case, these two men very clearly have a well-founded fear of persecution - from Iran, from Nauru, and from Australia. We should grant them refugee status in New Zealand.