Friday, September 16, 2016

We should do the right thing on Nauru

At the moment Australia is detaining and torturing thousands of refugees in its Pacific concentration camps on Nauru and Manus Island. Apparently, they'd like us to help end their human rights abuse by taking refugees directly from Nauru. But our government is apparently refusing:

The New Zealand government won't be extending its offer to re-settle 150 refugees in Nauru to the Pacific Island, saying it's proposal was only for Australia.

The comment comes after Australia's Immigration Minister Peter Dutton suggested New Zealand could take refugees held in its detention centre on Nauru.

In 2013, New Zealand offered to take in 150 refugees off Australia's hands - an offer that was never taken up.

Mr Dutton has said any deal to take refugees "was an issue between Nauru and New Zealand".


New Zealand Immigration Minister Michael Woodhouse said the offer made was in relation to those who had been approved as convention refugees.

In a statement, he said the Government is "not considering entering into a separate arrangement directly with Nauru".

Which is a stupid response. Yes, these people are ultimately Australia's responsibility: they applied for asylum in Australia, and rather than meet its obligations under the Refugee Convention, Australia rendered them to a Pacific gulag to be tortured as a "deterrent" to others. But in this situation, the most important thing is to end the torture - not quibble over who is responsible. The New Zealand government should stop pissing around, and open those spaces directly to refugees from the camps. It's the humanitarian thing to do.

(And remember: don't buy Australian)