Monday, January 30, 2017


Australia persecutes refugees by imprisoning them indefinitely in Pacific concentration camps. And now that has led to the obvious next step: someone has escaped one and claimed refugee status on the basis of that persecution:

A young Iranian refugee who was held on Manus Island for more than three years has fled to Fiji, where he is seeking asylum on the grounds he fears persecution if he goes back to Papua New Guinea.

"This is the end for me," said Loghman Sawari, whose time in PNG has been punctuated by beatings, bullying, imprisonment, illness, suicide attempts and living on the street in Lae, one of the country's most dangerous cities.

The 21-year-old Ahwazi Arab managed to board a plane under a false name after he said he was threatened by a PNG immigration official and lost hope of being resettled in the United States under President Donald Trump.

He has a good case: the UN has found that the camps constitute torture, while it is clear that refugees face ongoing persecution from an overwhelmingly hostile Papuan population. Legally, that should be enough for refugee status. Which is embarrassing for Australia that they're now the sort of country people can credibly claim asylum from.

Its time we ended this, by rescuing these people from Australian torture. Australia doesn't want them, PNG doesn't want them. We should take them and show them the basic humanity our neighbours are refusing to.

(And remember: until Australia reverses its racist anti-refugee policies, don't buy Australian).